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Zardari orders release of Indian fisherman from Pakistani jail

Zardari orders release of Indian fisherman from Pakistani jail
Islamabad:  Just hours after Pakistani scientist Dr Khalil Chishty walked out of the Ajmer Jail after being granted bail by the Supreme Court, Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari has ordered the immediate release of an Indian fisherman.

Samat Lakshman Bambhaniya has been lodged at a jail in Karachi for over a year now and is suffering from cancer.

"I had taken up Bambhaniya's case with the President and Prime Minister and would like to see that he gets home as quickly as possible," leading Pakistani rights activist Ansar Burney told PTI. Bambhaniya belongs to the Dandi village in Gujarat.

"Fishermen of both countries are frequently arrested because some times while fishing, they unintentionally enter each other's territory and get caught," Mr Burney said.

"These fishermen have to suffer for so many years in the jails of Pakistan or India. They are illiterate and innocent," he added.

On Monday, an ailing Dr Chishty, 80, got a major reprieve from the Supreme Court after fighting a protracted legal battle. (Read) The doctor entered Ajmer Jail last January after being sentenced to life imprisonment. The sentencing came after an 18-year-long trial, during which he remained mostly under house arrest.

Sources had said that Dr Chishty's case had been discussed at Sunday's lunch meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Mr Zardari during the latter's one-day visit to India. Pakistani officials had urged India to set Dr Chishty free, the sources had added.

Story First Published: April 11, 2012 20:59 IST

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