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100 Indian fishermen cross over to India from Pak

December 26, 2009 19:40 IST

The 100 Indian fishermen who were languishing for up to five years in Pakistani prisons on Saturday crossed the Wagah land border into India, after they were released by the government on humanitarian gesture, officials said.

"The transfer of the 100 fishermen to Indian territory has been completed," Suhel Khan, visa counsellor at the Indian High Commission told PTI on phone from Wagah.

The fishermen crossed over after the completion of formalities at the border. They were brought to Lahore on Friday from Karachi, where they were being held in Malir Jail.

The fishermen had been held in prison for period ranging from one to five years.

Officials said another Indian fishermen, who had died in Malir jail on Friday, was not part of the 100 fishermen who were freed on the orders of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.

Sukkan Koma, 50, who was arrested for allegedly fishing illegally in Pakistani waters in 2006, died in Malir Jail in Karachi.

India and Pakistan arrest scores of fishermen every year on charges of violating each other's maritime boundary.

The fishermen sometimes languish in prison for years.

The Pakistan government also proposed the revival of the Judicial Committee on Prisoners to resolve the issue of prisoners and fishermen in custody in the two countries.

The committee has not met since India put the composite dialogue on hold in the wake of last year's Mumbai terror attacks.

The release of such fishermen by both sides has slowed down since India put the composite dialogue on hold in the wake of last year's Mumbai terror attacks.
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