Pakistan has arrested at least 59 Indian fishermen on Thursday for entering the country’s waters and poaching, according to a report by IANS.
A senior official in the report was quoted saying that the Indian fishermen were arrested by the Maritime Security Agency (MSA) on Thursday while they were fishing in the Pakistani limits of the Arabian Sea.
The official further said that most of the arrested fishermen belonged to the state of Gujarat.
These arrests come just days after the two countries released imprisoned fishermen.Pakistan released some 87 Indian fishermen on March 6 and two weeks later on March 20 freed 86 more.
These fishermen left for Lahore by train in the afternoon where they were handed over to Indian authorities at the Wagah border, said the report.
The fishermen were released after they completed their sentences of one year. Some 377 more Indian prisoners are languishing in the Malir jail out of whom 116 have to complete their sentences while the remaining 261 are undertrials. All the fishermen hail from Gujarat.
India in the other hand had freed 9 Pakistani fishermen on March 17. This is after they had spent some 17 months in the Jamnagar jail in Gujarat.
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan Tuesday vowed to hold peace talks with arch-rival India following elections in the neighbouring country, after a similar offer from the former cricketer was “rebuffed.”
Khan made the announcement during a speech at a Saudi Arabian investment conference where the newly minted leader launched a charm offensive targeting potential investors as Pakistan seeks to secure funds amid a yawning balance of payment crisis.
“When I won the elections and came to power the first thing I tried to do was extend a hand of peace to India,” Khan told the crowd at the Future Investment Initiative (FII) in Riyadh, saying the overture was later “rebuffed” by Delhi.
“Now what we are hoping is that we wait until the elections then again we will resume our peace talks with India,” he added, referring to upcoming nationwide polls scheduled to take place by mid-May.
In September India pulled the plug on a rare meeting between its foreign minister and her Pakistani counterpart on the sidelines of a UN summit — a move that was termed “arrogant” by Khan and unleashed a barrage of insults from both sides.
India has long accused Pakistan of backing militants in Kashmir, a Himalayan territory divided between the two countries but claimed in full by both since independence in 1947.
Delhi has stationed about 500,000 soldiers in the portion of Kashmir it controls, where separatist groups demand independence or a merger with Pakistan.
Khan’s call for peace talks comes as his administration is desperately seeking funds from “friendly” countries, including Saudi Arabia, to shore up Pakistan’s deteriorating finances.
The prime minister’s attendance at the FII comes as leading policy-makers and corporate chiefs shunned the conference in response to the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
During his address at the FII Khan confirmed that Pakistan was also in talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) over a new bailout.
Since taking power in August Khan has also sought loans from allies such as China and Saudi Arabia, promised to recover funds stolen by corrupt officials, and embarked on a series of high-profile populist austerity measures.
But help has been in short supply and economists’ warnings have grown increasingly urgent. (VOA)