In its report submitted to the Supreme Court, the Foreign Office has said that there are currently at least 135 Pakistani fisherman held in Indian jails. 98 of these are awaiting consular access, 35 are awaiting confirmation about their national status and 2 are slated to be repatriated to Pakistan. The report also states that 121 fishermen were released in 2015 and 9 in 2016.
The report submitted by Foreign Office comes in the wake of the Court’s order in October, in which it had directed the Foreign Office to collect such details. The Court is hearing a constitutional petition, which has been filed by the Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum and the Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research. The petition is being handled by their counsel Advocate Raheel Kamran Sheikh. The petition seeks repatriation of detained Pakistani fishermen, who are languishing in Indian jails.
The petition lists out a host of requests such as information about Pakistani fisherman held in Indian jails, the charges under which they have been arrested, copies of court judgments related to their sentencing, etc. The federation formed by the petitioners has been routed through Secretary Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Secretary Ministry of Interior, the High Commission of Pakistan in India through High Commissioner and Pakistan Maritime Security Agency through its director general as respondents.