Pakistani boat, nine fishermen captured by India

NEW DELHI: Indian Coast Guard has apprehended a Pakis­tani boat with nine crew members from the Arabian Sea off Gujarat, The Hindu reported on Sunday.

It said the coast guard ship Samudra Pavak apprehended the boat and its crew at around 10:15am on Sunday.

According to a preliminary inquiry, crew members are fishermen. “The preliminary information indicates the crew to be Pakistani fishermen. However, the boat and the crew member are being escorted to Porbandar for further rummaging / joint investigation,” said a release issued by the Defence PRO Wing Commander Abhishek Matiman.

Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum reluctant to confirm incident

The coast guard has intensified surveillance along the 1,600km-long coastline in Gujarat in the wake of self-proclaimed surgical strikes by Indian security forces in Azad Kashmir. The ‘surgical strikes’ were conducted by India after a terrorist attack on its military camp at Uri in held Kashmir in which 18 soldiers were killed.

The coast guard has deployed ships and aircraft to enhance surveillance and vigil.

“In the prevailing security scenario…enha­nced vigil with deployment of ships and aircraft by the Indian coast guard is being exercised off the Gujarat coast,” the release said.

Shazia Hasan adds from Karachi: A Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum (PFF) spokesman was reluctant to confirm the capture.

“The PFF immediately got in touch with the fisher folk along the Sindh coastline for confirmation of the incident but so far we have nothing to confirm it,” said PFF spokesman Kamal Shah, though he appeared to be aware of reports about the incident.

“Fisher folk of Karachi, Thatta and Badin and many others living along the coastline are bracing themselves for the worst,” said Mr Shah. “They say that since many fishing boats are out to sea they would only find out if any one is missing when the boats return in a day or two.”

“We lose contact with the boats once they are out. News about the incident then would either be with another boat near it, or we can determine that a boat is missing when it fails to return back home,” he explained, adding that the fisher folk community was quite disturbed by the news and was waiting to hear the name of the captured boat or the men abroad it.

Published in Dawn, October 3rd, 2016

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