India releases 88 Pakistani fishermen

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Indian authorities handed over 88 Pakistani fishermen to Punjab Rangers at Wagah Border on Sunday.

The move came days after Pakistan handed over 113 Indian fishermen to New Delhi to mark the start of the holy month of Ramzan.

A statement from the Indian Home Ministry had earlier stated, “Eighty-eight Pakistani fishermen have already left Gujarat today and will be handed over to Pakistani authorities at Attari border on June 21.”

While there were reports in the media about the release of nine more Pakistani fishermen whose nationality had been confirmed by the government of Pakistan, as per available records, the Home Ministry said it had not received any communication in this regards.

“Release and repatriation of the remaining 27 Pakistani fishermen lodged in jails in Gujarat will be considered by the government as and when their nationality is confirmed by the Pakistani High Commission,” the statement added.

Further, India said on Friday it would give consular access to jailed fishermen from Pakistan and other nations so that their identity could be established. The government would facilitate visits of officials of Pakistan and other nations to prisons to identify and establish nationalities of fishermen lodged there, a Home Ministry official said.

In a telephonic call with Prime Minister Sharif on Tuesday, Indian PM Narendra Modi extended Ramzan wishes and conveyed to him his decision to release detained Pakistani fishermen.

Modi had also noted that there was a need for ‘peaceful’ and ‘friendly’ bilateral ties between India and Pakistan.