Attari (Amritsar): Forty-eight Indian fishermen, who were freed by Pakistan as a goodwill gesture, on Tuesday crossed over to this side of the border through the land transit route of Wagah border here.

The Indian nationals, who were held around a year back, were released from the Malir district prison of the southern port city of Karachi on Monday.

The released Indians crossed over to India on the basis of 'Emergency Travel Certificate' issued by the Indian High Commission based at Islamabad in Pakistan, officials posted at Attari border said.

Three days back Pakistan had announced to release Indian fishermen in its jails as a goodwill gesture during India's External Affairs Minister S M Krishna's visit to Pakistan.

The 48 fishermen were arrested by the Pakistani Coast Guards around a year back when during fishing in the Arabian Sea they slipped into Pakistan territorial water, where they were held for illegal fishing.

Indian fishermen were apprehensive about their future as their boats were also seized which were costly, with price ranging between Rs 3-7 lakh each.

A released prisoner said that the boats were confiscated by the Pakistani coastal guards who refused to return at the time of repatriation.

Moreover, fishermen were arrested during fishing in the Arabian sea and were repatriated from the land route where returning of boats was not possible since there was no such provision in practice to repatriate the fishermen from sea route after their arrest.


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