The fisherman’s tragedy

Fishermen arrested-bars-getty

Arrested Indian fishermen in Pakistan lockup. File photo. Getty images

Something I wrote in anguish yesterday, published in The Citizen, The Wire and Aman Ki Asha…  Not only are fishermen punished harshly for crossing a border they cannot see, once detained they are treated like prisoners of war by the other country.

The India-Pakistan Fisherman’s Story: Caught, Jailed, Dies, Body Wrapped in Red Tape

Imagine you are a fisherman. Born into poverty. Born in a small coastal village in India. Or Pakistan. (Hardly a matter of choice). You lead a tough life, following the profession of your father and grandfather. You are barely literate. You spend your life eking out a bare existence for yourself and your family, chasing the depleting shoals of fish that the wind and tide drive further out to sea.

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India, Pakistan: Moving on the right track

May 25, , Puri beach, Odisha: Sand artist Sudarshan Pattnaik's image of India’s Prime Minister-designate Narendra Modi and the Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif made in sand, with the message ” Peace gets a chance’.

May 25, , Puri beach, Odisha: Sand artist Sudarshan Pattnaik’s image of India’s Prime Minister-designate Narendra Modi and the Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif made in sand, with the message ” Peace gets a chance’.

I don’t have any great expectations from Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s upcoming visit to Delhi for PM designate Modi’s inauguration but it’s good that he’s going (despite all the pressures) and that contact is being initiated. Hopefully this contact will lead to steps being taken to implement agreements that have already been signed (re: trade, travel) that are in limbo. In that spirit, a re-plug for the Aman ki Asha petition against visa restrictions. Please sign and share if you haven’t already. Also, a very positive step ahead of the Modi-Sharif meeting is that, as a goodwill gesture, Pakistan has ordered the release of over 150 Indian prisoners, mostly fishermen, from Pakistani prisons. And for the first time, they are also releasing fishing boats. This is the first time in years that any side has decided to release fishing boats – kudos to Pakistan for taking the lead in this direction.

PIPFPD welcomes fishermen’s release, participation of Sharif in Modi’s swearing in ceremony

Modi’s invitation to Nawaz Sharif – a welcome move: Justice Markandey Katju Continue reading

India-Pakistan prisoners – fishermen, POWs, and more

Indian fishermen released from Pakistani prisons, waiting to go back

Below, my article on the India-Pakistan prisoners issue published in Aman ki Asha on Jan 11, 2012, followed by a correction from Sen. Iqbal Haider and further clarification from B.M. Kutty. Also please do read Shivam Vij’s thought-provoking and thorough report ‘Why is Gopal Das free and not Dr Chishty?‘, published in Aman ki Asha, and Anahita Mukherji’s report in The Sunday Times of India about how the Indian prisoners were treated in Pakistan (surprisingly well) – Warm memories of time in Pak jail.

Looking a New Year gift horse in the mouth

Pakistan’s release of 183 Indian prisoners on Jan 7, 2012 is a welcome step but it also highlights the ongoing issues faced by cross-border prisoners Continue reading

Dolphin-watching, Karachi, and the fishermen’s lament

PERSONAL POLITICAL article written on Jan 26, 2010, published in The News on Sunday Footloose page Feb 7, as ‘Wild, pure magic of malhars’

Photo by MAHA SARWAR SHAHID, age 13

Beena Sarwar

Out on a fishing boat under a clear blue early morning sky to go dolphin watching, the violence, squabbles and tensions that mark daily life fade into irrelevance – including the recent tensions arising from the Indian Premier League’s refusal to bid for Pakistani cricketers.

We cruise the sparkling azure waters of the Arabian Sea parallel to the lengthy sand spit (imaginatively called ‘Sandspit’) along the Karachi coast. About five kilometres out to sea, we can still clearly see the recreational ‘huts’ that dot Sandspit beach. As we pass another fishing boat, the crews exchange greetings – just as highway truckers and bus drivers do. Continue reading

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