KARACHI/COLOMBO, May 25 � In a goodwill gesture, Pakistan today freed 151 Indian fishermen, while Sri Lanka ordered the release of all detained Indian fishermen on the eve of the swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister-designate Narendra Modi, reports PTI.
Authorities released 59 Indian fishermen from the Malir Jail in Karachi and another 92 from the Nara Jail in Hyderabad in Sindh province.
In accordance with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif�s instructions, the prisoners will be handed over to Indian authorities tomorrow at the Wagah/Attari border, the Prime Minister�s Office said in a press release.
The freed prisoners were taken in an air-conditioned bus from Karachi to the Wagah border in Lahore. Sharif also ordered the release of 57 boats of the Indian fishermen ahead of his visit to India to attend the swearing-in of Modi.
This is the first time in many years that any side has decided to release the boats of these fishermen and it is Pakistan which is taking the first step, the statement said.
Pakistan has always said the �issue of prisoners in our respective countries is a humanitarian one and should be taken in that spirit�.
�According to our figures, there are 521 Pakistani prisoners in India, including 168 fishermen,� the statement said, adding �Government of Pakistan hopes that they too will be able to return to their loved ones in Pakistan soon.�
Meanwhile, a spokesman of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa said he has ordered the release of all Indian fishermen ahead of his visit to India tomorrow. However, Sri Lankan fisheries ministry officials could not indicate the number of Indian fishermen currently in detention.