On the same day when Prime Minister Narendra Modi greeted his Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif on his birthday, Pakistan on Sunday released 220 Indian fishermen who were held for trespassing into its territorial waters as a “goodwill gesture” to its nuclear-armed battling brother.
Modi extended birthday wishes to Sharif as the countries have been witnessing a severe chill in their relations after repeated terror attacks in India emanating from across the Pakistan.
Subsequently, Pakistan released almost half of the captive Indian fishermen in Pakistan jails.
“We released 220 Indian fishermen on Sunday as a goodwill gesture,” deputy superintendent of Karachi’s Malir prison Hassan Sehto was quoted by AFP, adding that 219 others still remain in Pakistani custody.
The freed fishermen are expected to cross over into India on Monday. Indian and Pakistani fishermen are frequently detained for illegal fishing since the Arabian Sea border is not clearly defined and many boats lack the technology to fix their precise location, AFP reported.
As poor diplomatic ties between the two neighbours mean makes it difficult to fulfil bureaucratic requirements, the fishermen often are forced to languish in jail, even after serving their terms.
Relations between the two nations have plummeted since a deadly attack on an Indian army base in Pathankot and Uri earlier this year and the subsequent ‘surgical strike’ by Indian army in PoK. Jus before the Pathankot attack Prime Minister Modi paid an unexpected visit to Nawaz Sharif on the occasion of his grand daughter’s marriage. Though it signalled normalising ties between estranged neighbours, the Pathankot attack changed it all. Soon after it India cancelled secretary level talks with Pakistan.