Pakistan will on Monday release all 22 fishermen from Andhra Pradesh arrested on charges of espionage, officials said on Friday.
Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has informed the Indian High Commission in Islamabad that the Pakistan government has decided to release and repatriate the fishermen to India via the Wagah border on January 6.
Andhra Pradesh’s ruling YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) claimed credit for their release and said the sustained efforts made by its leaders were successful.
YSRCP Parliamentary Party leader V. Vijayasai Reddy in a letter to Minister for External Affairs S. Jaishankar on August 22 had sought steps to seek the release of the fishermen from Srikakulam and Vizianagaram districts of Andhra Pradesh. They were captured by the Pakistan Maritime Security Agency off the Gujarat coast in November 2018.
The MP said that along with the family members of the captured fishermen, he had met the then External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and she had assumed that she would try through diplomatic channels to get the fishermen released.
The fishermen from the north coastal Andhra region had traveled to Gujarat for fishing. They ventured into the sea on three boats. The Pakistani authorities had arrested and reportedly taken them to Karachi.
Every year, fishermen from coastal Andhra go to Gujarat in September and return in March.