Indian prisoner dies in Karachi; Pakistan to release 199 Indian fishermen on May 12
Pakistani authorities are expected to go ahead with its goodwill gesture on Friday to release 199 Indian fishermen arrested for illegal fishing in Pakistani waters.
Kazi Nazir, senior police officer of the prisons and correctional department in Sindh, said the 199 fishermen had been informed by the relevant government ministries to release them on Friday and prepare for their return home. These fishermen will be sent to Lahore and handed over to the Indian authorities at the Wagah border. Now these fishermen are lodged in the Landi Jail here.
Zulfikar, an Indian civilian prisoner who was to be repatriated with the fishermen, died of complications at a hospital in Karachi on Saturday.
“According to officials at Landhi Jail, the Indian prisoner complained of high fever and chest problems and his condition worsened last week, so he was referred to hospital due to lung infection, where he died.
An official of the Edhi Welfare Trust, which arranges for the safe transport of these Indian fishermen to Lahore and provides other assistance in jails, said Zulfikar’s death was not a mystery as the conditions in Landhi and Malir jails were better and the conditions of the inmates far away. Poor health and chronic illnesses make it difficult to get regular, proper treatment.
Jail doctors or the hospital are usually not ready to deal with serious illnesses and recommend sending the patient to the hospital, but sometimes it is too late, the official said.
According to the Pakistan Indian People’s Forum for Peace and Democracy, currently 631 Indian fishermen and one civilian prisoner are still in Landi and Malir jails in Karachi despite completing their sentences.
Adil Sheikh, who works with the forum in Karachi, said all these Indian fishermen were arrested and jailed in Pakistani jails for allegedly violating the maritime demarcation agreement between Pakistan and India.
He added that almost all were poor and illiterate.
According to prison officials, in the past too, a few Indian civilian prisoners have died in hospitals due to illnesses.
A total of 654 Indian fishermen are in Karachi jails and 83 Pakistani fishermen are in Indian jails. Out of 654 Indian fishermen, 631 have completed their sentences and are awaiting repatriation.
Pakistan and India regularly arrest rival fishermen for violating their poorly marked maritime boundaries in some places.