Pakistan on Sunday released 220 Indian fishermen as a ”goodwill gesture” on the occasion of Christmas. “Of the 518 Indian fishermen [in Pakistani prison], 220 are being released today as a goodwill gesture of the Pakistan government,” said Shunali Shah, assistant superintendent of police of Karachi’s District Jail Malir.
The fishermen were taken into custody after they inadvertently ventured into Pakistani waters. They are expected to return to India on Monday.
On Wednesday, NGO Pakistan-India Peoples’ Forum for Peace and Democracy had said that another batch of 219 fishermen will be released on January 5. The organisation is a civil society forum set up by activists in both countries in 1994 to promote peace and democracy between them. Urging New Delhi to reciprocate the goodwill gesture by Islamabad, the forum said it had not met the Narendra Modi government since it came to power in May 2014.
The fishermen’s release comes amid souring relations between India and Pakistan since a militant attack on an Indian Army camp in Jammu and Kashmir’s Uri district and the surgical strikes the Indian Army conducted along the LoC following the attack.