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India, Pakistan release 167 fishermen

November 05, 2003 01:25 IST

Giving a boost to peace initiatives, Pakistan and India on Tuesday released 167 fishermen languishing in their prisons for allegedly violating their territorial waters.

While 74 Indian fishermen, along with 23 of their boats, were freed in Karachi, 93 Pakistani fishermen were simultaneously released from the prison in Porbandar in Gujarat, officials said in Islamabad.

The Indian fishermen were handed over to the naval attache in the Indian High Commission, Capt Ravindra Barutrahari Pandit, who flew to Karachi to receive them.

The fishermen of both the countries would be formally exchanged at a pre-designated point between the Gujarat and Karachi coasts in the presence of Indian and Pakistani naval officials.

This was the first batch of fishermen to have been released by the two countries after India recently proposed close co-ordination between their coast guards and liberalisation of the stringent norms for fishermen, who often cross into the neighbouring country's waters due to lack of clear demarcation of the border.

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