KARACHI - Pakistan has arrested at least 100 Indian fishermen for illegally fishing in its waters, officials said on Sunday.

The Maritime Security Agency (MSA) made the arrests Saturday night, and also impounded 19 wooden boats, a security official told AFP on condition of anonymity because he is not authorised to speak to the media.

"The 100 men would be taken to the court on Monday," senior police official Adeel Chandio said after the fishermen were handed over to the police by MSA officials. Every year dozens of Indian and Pakistani fishermen are picked up in the Arabian Sea after straying across maritime borders.

They often languish in prison even after serving their sentences, as poor diplomatic relations between the bitter nuclear foes hamper the bureaucracy. Pakistan released 220Indian fishermen as a "goodwill" gesture in January.

According to Indian news agency PTI, Manish Lodhari, secretary of National Fishworkers’ Forum (NFF), said “We have learnt that more than 100 fishermen who were on board around 18 fishing boats were apprehended by PMSA near the international maritime boundary line off Jakhau coast.”

The fishermen who escaped have informed us about this, he added.

Lodhari further said the NFF is trying to establish contact with the Pakistani agencies to get the exact number of those abducted by PMSA. Even earlier this month, the PMSA had apprehended 115 fishermen and seized 19 boats. “In March so far, the PMSA has separately held over 225 fishermen along with nearly three dozen boats,” Lodhari said.