The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Pak doubts fishermen’s ambush by India claim

Islamabad, Nov. 15: The Maritime Security Agency (MSA) have cast doubts over the alleged ambush on Pakistani fishermen by Indian naval personnel last Thursday.

“This is what local fishermen in Thatta told us. But we have no information about either an ambush on Pakistani boats or the Indian navy taking fishermen as hostages in a creek near Shah Bandar southeast of Karachi,” MSA officials said.

Local fishermen in Thatta city, some 150 km east of Karachi, have claimed that Indian naval vessels violated Pakistani territorial waters and took four fishermen, Ilyas Juman, Rafiq, Ramun Taimur and a boy, as hostages while they were fishing near Shah Bandar.

They had also claimed that the Indian naval personnel tortured the fishermen before impounding their boats. “We have our naval marines patrolling the area and any violation by the Indian navy immediately comes to our notice,” naval officials said while denying the alleged ambush.

The officials, however, said the fishermen invented such stories and set their boats on fire to claim damages from insurance companies.

After the release of 74 Indian fishermen by Pakistan, India reciprocated the gesture by releasing 93 Pakistani fishermen on November 3 along with their boats.

Most of the illegal movement takes place in the creek areas on Indian and Pakistani sides, the officials said, adding that the fishermen usually get distracted because of their lack of knowledge about maritime affairs.

As part of a series of peace proposals, India had last month proposed regular contact between officials of the Indian Coast Guards and Pakistan Maritime Security Agency to avoid arrests and prolonged detention of fishermen on petty charges like violation of territorial waters.

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