Mumbai: (Press Release) Pakistan-India Peoples’ Forum for Peace & Democracy (PIPFPD), India chapter, welcomes the decision of Pakistan government to release 57 seized boats of Indian fishermen. The fishing community of Gujarat and Diu is happy with the gesture of Pakistan government. We feel India must reciprocate by releasing Pakistani fishermen’s seized boats. The gesture will play a major confidence building measure. The 57 boats are expected to return India in September.
According to our estimate, over the years more than 800 boats of Indian fishermen were seized by Pakistan’s Maritime Security Agency (MSA) and Indian Coast Guard has seized around 200 boats belonged to Pakistani fishermen. Most of these boats have rotted and cannot return. But, we are of the opinion that sizeable number of boats are in seaworthy conditions and can sail smoothly with some repair. PIPFPD along with other civil society organizations have been demanding India and Pakistan release the seized boats of other country. Boats are the only source of livelihood for fishing community.
As Indian and Pakistan government has decided to give priority to the fishermen’s issue, we sincerely hope that foreign secretaries of both countries will discuss in detail the issue of fishermen and their boats when they meet on 25th August in Islamabad. This is the right time to release & repatriate all fishermen, as recommended by Judicial Committee on Prisoners, in the custody of other country.