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Fishermen being used as “bargaining chips” by India and Pakistan, says Pak daily

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Islamabad: India and Pakistan are using arrested fishermen “as bargaining chips”, a leading Pakistani daily said, adding that the fishermen want to make a decent living and are not a threat.

An editorial “Fishermen’s release” in the Dawn on Monday, said that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent phone call to his Pakistani counterpart, Nawaz Sharif to convey Ramadan greetings, “may not have solved the Sir Creek dispute, but it was no less momentous for around 200 Pakistani and Indian fishermen imprisoned in each other’s countries”.

Modi’s promise to ensure that Pakistani fishermen detained in his country, would return home for Ramadan was promptly reciprocated by Nawaz Sharif, with the release of 113 Indian fishermen behind bars in Islamabad, since around nine months.

This was immediately followed by India releasing 88 Pakistani fishermen held in its prisons, the daily said.

The editorial said that these impoverished people, “feature in a pantomime that regularly takes place every few months or so between the two neighbouring countries – the release from prison of a clutch of hapless fishermen, belonging to one side or the other”.

“The fishermen, only looking to make a decent living, are no threat, nor does anyone seriously consider them to be so. Yet they are used as bargaining chips, to be played when the time is right.”

“Surely it did not need the sighting of the Ramadan crescent, or a phone conversation between the premiers of Pakistan and India, to bring the misery of over 200 families to an end,” it added.

The daily said that most fishermen are not treated badly during their incarceration, but that is “small comfort for those who get caught in the infernal game called politics, much like the struggling fish they catch in their nets”. (IANS)

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Mother Convicted of Forcing Daughter to Marry

A British court has convicted a mother of forcing her daughter to marry a relative almost twice her age in Pakistan, in a first successful prosecution of its type in England.

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A union flag is flown at half mast in Westminster after an attack on London Bridge and Borough Market left 7 people dead and dozens injured in London, Britain, June 4, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Coombs

A British court has convicted a mother of forcing her daughter to marry a relative almost twice her age in Pakistan, in a first successful prosecution of its type in England.

A jury at Birmingham Crown Court on Tuesday convicted the mother of four of duping her then 17-year-old daughter into travelling to Pakistan on the pretext of a family holiday in 2016 and forcing her to marry there, the BBC reported.

The mother was found guilty of two counts of forced marriage and was scheduled to be sentenced.

The court heard the girl had been entered into a “marriage contract” with the man years before in Pakistan and became pregnant at 13. The victim had an abortion on returning to the UK, with her doctor reporting his concerns to social services.

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Prosecutors said the girl’s mother told them that her daughter and the man were just “two teenagers who had sneakily had sex” after she was referred, the BBC said.

The girl was tricked into travelling to Pakistan again in September 2016 and was forced by her mother to sign marriage papers.

When the daughter protested against the marriage, her mother threatened to burn her passport and assaulted her.

The mother was also convicted of perjury after she lied about the incident in the High Court.

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It is the first time a forced marriage case of this kind has been successfully prosecuted in an English court. Prosecutions for forced marriage, which became an offense in 2014, are rare. (IANS)

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