Pakistan on Sunday released 100 Indian fishermen as a "goodwill gesture" amid tensions with India in the aftermath of the Pulwama terror attack. The fishermen form the first batch of 360 Indian prisoners that Pakistan says will be freed in four phases this month.
The released prisoners were taken to the Karachi Cantonment Railway Station under heavy security, where they boarded the Allama Iqbal Express for Lahore, The Express Tribune reported. From Lahore, they would be taken to the Wagah Border for handover to the Indian authorities, it said.
They were given gifts and provided travel expenses by the Edhi Foundation, a non-profit social welfare organisation in Pakistan, the report said.
On Friday, Pakistan announced that it will release 360 Indian prisoners, mostly fishermen, this month in four phases, as a "goodwill gesture".
Foreign Office spokesperson Mohammad Faisal had said the process of releasing the Indian fishermen will start on April 8, when 100 prisoners will be released.
Another 100 will be released in the second phase on April 15 and in the third phase on April 22, another 100 will be set free. The fourth and last phase on April 29 will see the release of the remaining 60 prisoners.
"We are doing it as a goodwill gesture and hope that India will reciprocate it," Mr Faisal said while addressing his weekly briefing to the media in Islamabad on Friday.
Currently, there are 347 Pakistani prisoners in India and 537 Indian prisoners in Pakistan, he said.
Anwar Kazmi, a spokesman of Edhi welfare organisation which helps the released fishermen with clothes and food, told news agency PTI from Karachi on Friday that the process of releasing the fishermen will start from Sunday.
"First a group of 100 fishermen will be taken from Karachi to Lahore on Allama Iqbal Express on Sunday," he said.
Pakistan and India frequently arrest fishermen from the other side since there is no clear demarcation of the maritime border in the Arabian Sea.
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