India to release 88 Pak fishermen as 'goodwill' gesture

India to release 88 Pak fishermen as 'goodwill' gesture

India will release 88 Pakistani fishermen over the weekend as "goodwill" gesture after Prime Minister Narendra Modi conveyed the decision to his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif earlier this week.

India has already communicated the decision to release the 88 Pakistani fishermen to their High Commission here and was now awaiting for the "exit documents" from that mission, official sources said.

In a telephonic call to Sharif on Tuesday, Modi extended Ramzan wishes and conveyed to him his decision to release detained Pakistani fishermen on this pious occasion.

"The fishermen released will be able to be with their families to observe this blessed month," Modi had said while conveying his decision to Sharif.

Modi had also noted that there was a need for having "peaceful" and "friendly" bilateral ties between India and Pakistan.

India's gesture comes in the backdrop of a war of words with Pakistan over Modi's critical remarks about Pakistan during his Dhaka visit recently and in the wake of India's military action in Myanmar.

Meanwhile, Pakistan today released 113 Indian fishermen lodged in a jail in Karachi as a goodwill gesture. They will be handed over to Indian authorities at the Wagah border tomorrow.

However, Pakistan official sources said they were hoping that at least 97 of the 133 Pakistani fishermen will be released after Modi had conveyed his decision to Sharif.
"The nationality of 97 prisoners have been established. At least, India should release them as there was so much of excitement among their families in Pakistan after Modi's announcement," a source said.

India should give consular access for rest of 36 people so that their identity establishment process could also be "fast tracked", the Pakistani sources said. 

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