NEW DELHI: Pakistan on Monday handed over 20 Indian fishermen, who completed their four-year prison terms for allegedly fishing in Pakistani waters, to India at the Wagah border.
The batch of 20 Indian fishermen, who were released from the District Prison and Correctional Facility, Malir in Sindh province on Sunday, arrived in Lahore on Monday.
The Edhi Foundation received them in Lahore and provided them with food. They were taken to the Wagah border where they got through the immigration process and certain Covid-19 related tests. They crossed into their homeland in the evening.
The Edhi Trust Foundation, a non-profit social welfare organisation, made arrangements to transport the fishermen to the Wagah border from where they were handed over to the Indian authorities.
The Indian nationals were handed over to the Border Security Force by the Pakistan Rangers, according to officials.
Most of the fishermen were imprisoned after crossing over to Pakistani waters four to five years ago.
These 20 Indian fishermen were arrested by the Pakistan Maritime Security Force (PMSF) and handed over to the dock police for allegedly fishing illegally in Pakistani waters.
One Arjun Babu said that he had been growing his hair from the time of his arrest five years ago.
He said that he would get a haircut as soon as he reaches his home, but not immediately, just to be safe.
An officer said that 588 more Indian nationals, the majority of them fishermen, are still languishing in Landhi jail.
The 20 fishermen crossed over to Indian territory through the land transit route of the Attari border after the Beating Retreat ceremony in Attari.
They crossed over from Pakistan on the basis of an ‘Emergency Travel Certificate’ issued by the Islamabad-based Indian High commission.
On reaching the Indian side, they were medically examined. Their Covid-19 tests were also conducted.
Due to the absence of a clear demarcation line in the coastal area of the Arabian Sea between the two countries, those fishermen who do not possess the modern-day navigation equipment mistakenly crossed the red lines and ended up in jails.