Pakistan releases 35 Indians on I-Day (Lead)

August 15th, 2008 - 7:54 pm ICT by IANS  

Attari Border (Punjab), Aug 15 (IANS) Pakistan Friday released 35 Indian nationals, including 34 fishermen, as a goodwill gesture on the occasion of the independence days of the two countries. India celebrated its Independence Day Friday, a day after Pakistan marked its own independence from British rule.

Shouting pro-India slogans, the fishermen said they were happy to be back in their country after spending jail terms, ranging from a few months to three years, in Pakistan.

The fishermen, who belong to the coastal areas of Daman and Gujarat, were mostly lodged in Karachi in Pakistan.

Bhola, a youth from a village in Jammu area, was also released along with the fishermen. Officials here said Bhola was mentally challenged and his family was being contacted to send him home.

The fishermen stepped into Indian territory after completing cumbersome immigration formalities on both sides of the border.

“We are all so happy to be back. That this is happening on the country’s Independence Day is another great thing for us. We went through tough times,” fisherman Dalip Kumar told reporters here.

Border Security Force (BSF) officials here said the fishermen would be handed over to Amritsar district authorities to be taken back to their homes in Gujarat.

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