Gujarati family awaits body of kin who died in Pakistan 40 days ago

Mumbai, Jan 30 (IANS) A Gujarati family anxiously awaits the day when they will be finally able to see their head of family Vaaga Chauhan for the last time, nearly 40 days after he passed away in a hospital in Pakistan’s port city of Karachi.

Indian fisherman Vaaga Chauhan, hailing from Saurashtra region of Gujarat, died following an illness in a Karachi hospital on December 22, an activist group claimed here on Saturday.

However, more than a month after his demise, Chauhan’s body is yet to reach his mourning family members, said Jatin Desai, general secretary, Pakistan-India Peoples’ Forum for Peace & Democracy (PIPFPD).

“The 55-year old fisherman was arrested by the Pakistan authorities when his boat strayed into that country’s territorial waters. It is more than five weeks since his death and his body is lying in the Edhi Foundation’s morgue in Karachi,” Desai told IANS.

Lamenting that such long delays is the usual practice whenever an Indian or Pakistani fisherman dies in the prison of the other country, he appealed to both governments to take steps to expedite such cases.

“PIPFPD strongly feels that this practice should be changed immediately and a decision be made that on humanitarian grounds, the body of the deceased must be sent to his/her country in the very next available flight,” Desai urged.

Citing similar instances in the past, he said an Indian fisherman from Junagadh Bhikha L. Shival, 35, died in Karachi on December 19, 2013. But the body was sent on February 15, 2014.

In some other instances, Ramjibhai Vala’s body came 45 days after his death in 2012, Dadubhai Makwana’s body was received after three weeks, Kishore Bhagwan’s body was sent after 55 days in 2014 and Arvind Vala’s body came after 22 days in the same year (2014).

From the Indian side, a Pakistani fisherman Nawaz Ali died in Ahmedabad on September 8, 2012 and his body was sent home after 25 days, Desai said.

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