199 Indian fishermen lodged at the Landhi jail in Pakistan to be released at the Wagah border on Friday.
Indians will be received by the Wagah border authorities from Lahore. One of them died of sickness before repatriation. All ended up in Pakistani jails for violation of the marine territorial demarcation treaty between the two neighbors. Many among them are poor and illiterate
India and its rival have been arresting fishermen for disrespecting the maritime boundary which has been at some places marked poorly. These violations of the maritime boundary have raised tensions between India and Pakistan, which have already been strained due to their long-standing territorial dispute over the region of Kashmir. The two countries have fought several wars over Kashmir, which is currently divided between them.
Pakistan and India have a long-standing dispute over their maritime boundary in the Arabian Sea. The boundary, known as the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL), was established in 1974 by a bilateral agreement. However, Pakistan has been accused of violating this boundary several times, which has led to tension between the two countries. The 26/11 terrorist attack in Mumbai wherein ten terrorists rocked the city with bullets and screams, apparently were brought in from Pakistan through the sea route.
Locked up and Forgotten: Longstanding Indian Prisoners
This incident was not the first time Pakistan had violated the Indian maritime boundary. In 2019, the Indian Navy intercepted a Pakistani fishing boat in the Indian EEZ and arrested its crew. The boat was found to be carrying narcotics worth millions of dollars. Pakistan had also been accused of sending its naval vessels into the Indian EEZ without permission.
Pakistan’s violation of the Indian maritime boundary is a violation of international law and undermines regional stability. The UNCLOS establishes the rights and duties of countries in their use of the world’s oceans and their resources. The convention provides for the delimitation of maritime boundaries between neighboring countries and requires them to respect the boundaries established.
Human Rights Violations: Mistreatment of Indian Prisoners
Pakistani jails remain a matter of concern for the Indian government. The Indian government has taken several steps to secure their release and has called for a humane approach to resolving the issue. It is hoped that the Pakistani authorities will take steps to release these prisoners and contribute to building trust and confidence between the two nations.
According to the latest data available from the Indian government, there are approximately 335 Indian prisoners in Pakistani jails, including 54 civilians and 281 fishermen. These individuals were arrested for allegedly violating Pakistan’s territorial waters or for crossing the border illegally.
The Indian government has repeatedly raised the issue of the mistreatment of Indian prisoners with the Pakistani authorities and has sought their release on humanitarian grounds. The Indian government has also provided consular access to these prisoners to ensure that their rights are protected and that they receive proper medical care and other facilities.
The mistreatment of Indian prisoners in Pakistani jails is a violation of international law and human rights. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has the mandate to visit detainees in Pakistan and other countries to ensure that they are being treated humanely and that their rights are being protected.