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Pakistan Releases 145 Indian Fishermen, More Likely In January

Indian fishermen, who were released by the Pakistani authorities, wave after crossing over to the Indian side of the India-Pakistan border, near Amritsar on December 29.

Pakistan has released 145 Indian fishermen from prison as a goodwill gesture, Pakistani officials say.

Major Azam Sher on December 29 said the released fishermen were handed over to Indian authorities at a border crossing near the eastern city of Lahore.

The fishermen had been held in the Malir jail in Karachi for the past year, accused by Islamabad of illegally fishing in Pakistani territorial waters.

Pakistani officials have promised to release a further 146 Indian fishermen on January 7, according to the Edhi Foundation, a charitable Pakistani foundation that regularly aids in the repatriation of Indian fishermen.

In December 2016, Islamabad released 220 Indian fishermen. India also released a number of Pakistani fishermen at the same time.

Pakistan and India, longtime bitter regional rivals, regularly arrest members of fishing-boat crews from the other country in the Arabian Sea, which does not have a clearly defined maritime border.

They often remain in prison for long periods until being released during goodwill gestures.

The Edhi Foundation urged India to reciprocate with further releases of imprisoned Pakistani fishing crews.

Based on reporting by AP, The Nation, and The Tribune