64 Pakistani prisoners repatriated

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

WAGAH - Sixty four Pakistani nationals, most of them fishermen and who were internees in Indian prisons, have been repatriated across the Wagah border after they completed their jail-terms.

Of these 64 Pakistani nationals, 11 were released from the jails of Amritsar while 52 from Gujarat and one from Rajasthan on Tuesday.

The 11 prisoners freed from Amritsar were those who were found near the barbed fencing at the India -Pakistan border without having the required visa and passport documents.

All the 52 internees, who were released from jails of Gujarat, were fishermen who had crossed the territorial waters while fishing in the Arabian Sea.

The Pakistani nationals were visibly delighted on being freed from Indian jails.

“Sir, the colour of water in the sea is same on both the sides. Unknowingly, I caste my fishing net in the Indian seaside and I was caught by the Indian Navy officials. They then asked me where I belonged to. I replied Pakistan. They then arrested me and put me inside the jail,” said Ghulam Hussain, a Pakistani fisherman.

The freed Pakistani nationals included a teenaged boy Arshad. The 14-year-old was released from a Rajasthani jail. He had been arrested on January 12, 2010.

The Border Security Force (BSF) had rounded up this teenager when he was found loitering in the Indian territory.

The boy was termed as an infiltrator by Mohammad Aquil, Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of BSF and was accused of intruding to keep an eye on Border Security Force (BSF) personnel’s activities.

BSF slapped charges against him under Section 3 of the Passport Act. However, the charges were later quashed by an Indian court stating that his entry into India without valid documents was accidental and he should be released.

Arshad, having languished in Indian jail for 10 months, looked elated after being freed. However, he urged the Indian authorities to consider a quick release of innocent youngsters who are still imprisoned in India for many years.

“If children are caught, they should be put to trial by the courts at the earliest. It is wrong to imprison them for 10 months. Many of such children were my inmates. They were returned after three-four years, it is wrong,” he said. By Sawinder Singh (ANI)

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