The death of an Indian civilian who was to be returned with the 199 Indian fishermen who were caught for allegedly fishing illegally in Pakistani waters on Thursday is not anticipated to deter Pakistani officials from carrying out their goodwill gesture of releasing the fishermen on Friday.
According to a top police officer in Sindh’s jail and correctional department, Kazi Nazir, the appropriate government departments have instructed them to prepare for the release and repatriation of 199 fishermen on Friday.
The Wagah border in Lahore will be where these fishermen are handed over to Indian officials. These fisherman are currently being housed in the Landhi prison.
The goodwill gesture, he said, appeared to be proceeding as planned, despite the death on Saturday from illness of an Indian civilian prisoner named Zulfiqar who was to be deported together with the fishermen.
The Indian inmate’s condition deteriorated last week, and he was brought to the hospital, where he later died of an apparent lung infection, he added, citing reports from jail officials.
Conditions in the Landhi and Malir jails are far from ideal, and prisoners with poor health and chronic ailments struggle to get regular proper treatment, according to an official of Edhi Welfare Trust, which usually arranges for the safe transportation of these Indian fishermen to Lahore and provides other help in jails.
The source noted that while prison medical staff may prescribe hospitalisation for inmates with serious illnesses, by the time they get there it may be too late.
There are currently 631 Indian fisherman and one civilian prisoner in Karachi’s Landhi and Malir jails, despite having served their sentences, as reported by the Pakistan India People’s Forum for Peace and Democracy.