43 Indian fishermen arrested by Pakistan authorities
Karachi/Ahmedabad, Dec 15: Forty-three Indian fishermen have been arrested and seven of their boats seized by Pakistani authorities for allegedly fishing illegally in the country's territorial waters in the Arabian Sea, officials said.
The fishermen were arrested yesterday and have been handed over to the Docks police, a spokesman for Pakistan's Maritime Security Force (PMSF) said. "The Docks police will now present them before a judicial magistrate who will most likely send them in judicial remand to jail," Commander Wajid Nawaz Chaudhary said.
The PMSF has arrested 144 Indian fishermen over the last one month for alleged illegal fishing in Pakistani waters. With the latest apprehensions, the number of such arrests of Indian fishermen this year has gone up to over 400. The PMSF spokesman said the Indian fishermen were arrested as the Pakistan maritime security forces were conducting exercises near Pakistan's Maritime border in the Arabian Sea. "Speedboats and helicopters were used in the exercise when the Indian fishermen were spotted in our waters," Chaudhary said.
Meanwhile, secretary of the Porbandar-based National Fishworkers' Forum (NFF) Manish Lodhari said that fishermen, who were from different parts of Gujarat, had sailed off the coastal town of Porbandar a few days ago. He said they were apprehended by the PMSF near Jakhau coast and then taken to Karachi port. Fishermen from Pakistan and India are frequently detained for illegally fishing in each other's territorial waters since the Arabian Sea does not have a clearly defined marine border and the wooden boats lack the technology to avoid drifting away.
Pakistani fishermen, mostly belonging to the Sindh province, are being apprehended by the Border Security Force (BSF) and Indian Coast Guard (ICG) for illegally fishing in the creek area along the Indo-Pak border in Kutch district in Gujarat. In November, both the BSF and the ICG had apprehended 23 Pakistani fishermen and seized 11 of their boats from creek area, while the PMSF had apprehended a total of 101 Indian fishermen and seized 15 their boats for allegedly enterning into Pakistani waters.
On November 10, the PMSF arrested 55 Indian fishermen and seized nine fishing boats while on November 12 four boats were seized and 23 Indian fishermen arrested for allegedly entering into Pakistani waters. Choudhary said on November 16 also the PMSA had arrested a batch of 23 Indian fishermen and seized four Indian boats.
In October, the PMSA had arrested two batches of 50 Indian fishermen. On October 29, the Pakistan government had released 68 Indian fishermen from Malir jail as a goodwill gesture. A total of 438 Indian fishermen were released in 12 days time in December 2016-January 2017 by Pakistani authorities from the Landhi and Malir jails in Karachi.