Ninety nine freed prisoners arrive in India from Pak

May 25th, 2008 - 3:46 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, May 25 (ANI): Ninety nine Indian prisoners, including ninety six fishermen, who were freed from Pakistani jails on Friday, arrived at the Wagah border in Amritsar on Sunday.
The Indian High Commission in Islamabad issued emergency travel certificates to them and on their arrival at Wagah, the Indian authorities carried out a medical examination of all prisoners.
Three people from Jammu and Kashmir were also among freed prisoners.They were identified as Parvez Ahmed from Kashmir, Mangal Singh from Jammu and Shabudin from Poonch.
Parvez, Mangal Singh and Shabudin were arrested in 1992, 1997 and 1991 respectively.
On reaching home soil, they thanked the Indian Government for its efforts in securing their release.
Pakistan released them on Friday as a goodwill gesture after External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee’s visit.
They were released two days after India and Pakistan signed an agreement, granting consular access to citizens being held in the jails of the two countries.
The Indian authorities had earlier confirmed their nationality to the Pakistan Government.
The fishermen were held after they had strayed into Pakistan’s territorial waters.
Parvez Ahmed said, “I had crossed to Pakistan inadvertently and don’t know how I reached in Pakistani territory until I was arrested.There was no fencing from where I crossed. On being arrested, I was thrown behind the bars where physical and mental torture was inflicted upon me.” Parvez said he had also spent time in Lahores Kotlakhpat Jail where he had a brief meeting with Sarabjit Singh who is on a death row.
Fisherman Allah Rakha said, “I was in the Pakistani jails for the last 27 months along with my other fellow Indian prisoners. Most of the Indian fishermen were arrested nearly 24 to 27 months back when they reached Pakistan through territorial waters of Arabian Sea”.
Hanif, another fisherman, said, “It is very difficult to identify territorial waters while fishing in the sea”.
The fishermen narrated nightmarish experiences during their detention in the prisons.
They said that the Pakistan Government had captured their boats and claimed that the cost of one boat varies from Rs three lakh to ten lakh depending upon the quality and size of the boat.
Over seven hundred Indian fishermen are languishing in Pakistan prisons, the released prisoners claimed. (ANI)

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