Pakistan repatriates 86 fishermen, one more

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Attari/Islamabad, March 8 (IANS) At least 86 fishermen and one person from Jammu and Kashmir, who were released by Pakistani authorities, arrived in India on Tuesday through the Attari land border between both states.

The fishermen, most of them from Gujarat state, had been languishing in Pakistani prisons for terms ranging from a few months to a few years, officials said at Attari joint check post.

There was confusion over the repatriation of the group of 87 Indians as they could not cross over to Attari from Wagah on Monday as authorities from New Delhi did not arrive to complete the immigration formalities.

The group were at the Wagah border till 11 p.m. (local time) after being released by Pakistan as a goodwill gesture, Dawn online reported.

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The fishermen who were released said that they were arrested by Pakistani maritime authorities on charges of entering Pakistani territorial waters. They boats were also seized by Pakistani authorities and they were sent to different prisons.

The Edhi Foundation in Pakistan had arranged travelling of the fishermen from Landhi Jail of Karachi to the Wagah land checkpost.

The group, which remained jailed for over two years, was at the crossing point for the whole day but no one from the Gujarat fisheries department arrived across the border to receive them.

Usually fishermen released from jails are received instantly at Attari border by officials from the Indian side, but this time nobody came, a Pakistan Rangers spokesman said.

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