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180 Indians to be released from Pak jail

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On Saturday, Pakistan released 180 Indian nationals, including 179 fishermen detained for violating territorial waters, as part of measures to normalize relations with India.

The released Indian nationals were then loaded into four buses that will take them to the Wagah border near Lahore, where they will be handed over to Indian authorities on Sunday.

Police are escorting the four buses for security reasons.

“Today, the authorities released 180 detainees, which is a very positive development and a confirmation of our efforts to improve relations between the two countries,” retired judge Aslam Nasir Zahid, who heads a nongovernmental organization, told reporters.

The organization works with an Indian NGO to provide justice and assistance to prisoners, mostly poor fishermen, who are in Pakistani and Indian jails.

Judge Zahid said the Indian prisoners, including civilian Sama Yousuf, were released by the government as a goodwill gesture to start the new year.

Yousuf had been detained by Pakistani authorities after he crossed the border into Pakistan. He said 276 Indian fishermen are still in Karachi jails, while authorities have also seized some 320 boats recently.

Shipping authorities frequently arrest and seize Indian fishermen and their boats when they enter Pakistani territorial waters.

Judge Zahid said his organization is also working to locate missing Pakistani fishermen and recover about 42 fishermen in Indian jails.

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