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Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum hold protest rally to demand release of fishermen detained by India and Pakistan

by Saeed Baloch, 10 February 2009

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Posted below are news reports on the Karachi protest held on tuesday 10 February 2009

Karachi: Pakistan, India urged to release fishermen

KARACHI, Feb 10: Members of the fishermen’s community including women and children took out a rally on Tuesday to protest against the arrest of their fishermen by the Indian authorities.

Participants of the rally, organised by Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum, gathered outside the Sindh Assembly in the afternoon and marched towards the Karachi Press Club where they staged a sit-in to press the government for the early release of the fishermen kept in Indian jails.

The rally, led by PFF chairman Mohammad Ali Shah, General Secretary Saeed Baloch, Karachi Committee President Majeed Motani and Tahira Ali, was attended by the relatives of arrested fishermen including women and children hailing from coastal villages of Karachi, Keti Bandar, Kharo Chhan, Shah Bandar, Jati and Thatta.

Most of the protesters had travelled from the small villages along the coastal belt of Thatta and Karachi to attend the protest rally.

Carrying banners and placards, the children and women chanted slogans for the release of their relatives, who had been arrested by India coastal authorities in Korangi Creek and Kajar Creek, and demanded that President Asif Ali Zardari ensure the release of the fishermen from Indian captivity.

Women participants of the rally told reporters that as the heads of their families were in Indian jails, they had no breadwinners left.

They urged Pakistan and Indian governments to release fishermen who were jailed in Indian and Pakistani prisons.

PFF chairman Muhammad Ali Shah spoke at the protest rally and termed the arrest of Pakistani fishermen a violation of their human rights. He asked both the governments to follow international law and stop arresting fishermen.

He demanded that both countries release the arrested fishermen from their jails on humanitarian grounds.

He expressed concern over the constant arrest of the fishermen and said that it had forced their families to face starvation besides seriously affecting the education of the fishermen’s children.

The PFF leader urged the government to resolve the lingering issue of Sir Creek besides releasing the arrested fishermen.

Other PFF leaders also demanded of the Pakistani government to ensure the presence of security forces in Pakistani waters so that fishermen could be stopped from straying into Indian waters.—Agencies

Fisherwomen protest illegal detainment of fishermen

Wednesday, February 11, 2009
By our correspondent


A large number of fisherwomen protested excesses allegedly committed by Indian coastal authorities outside the Sindh Assembly premises on Tuesday, and later marched towards Karachi Press Club, where the protest culminated.

Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum (PFF) organised the rally, and was led by its chairperson Mohammed Ali Shah. The relatives of victims hailing from different coastal areas of Thatta district, Keti Bunder, Kharochan, Shah Bunder, Chuch Jahan Khan, Jati, Jungisar and Haji Yousuf Katiar took active part in the rally to demand the release of fishermen who are languishing in different jails in India.

Speakers at the rally said that the lingering dispute between both neighbouring countries over the Sir Creek has been the main cause of fishermen’s suffering. They demanded that the dispute should be settled so that fishermen of both sides can take find relief as they have lost many people, who have died in jails.

Quoting recent incidents, Mohammed Ali Shah accused Indian authorities of violating Pakistani territories and arresting crew members. He urged world human rights groups to pressurise the Indians to abide by international laws.

Mohammed Ismail, the owner of recently lost fishing boat Mashallah carrying 11 crewmembers, told The News that he is sure that “his people” must be in Indian jails. He said that despite all efforts, there have been no information about the incident, and the families remain apprehensive and uncertain.

Tahira Ali, a PFF activist, said: “It is inhumane that breadwinners are being arrested, whose wives and children suffer deprivation and poverty back home.”