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Indian ships in Pakistan's captivity off Karachi Port.
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'We were arrested in Indian waters'

December 15, 2008
Jakhau is a port in Kutch, Gujarat, from where the International Maritime Boundary Line, IMBL, the imaginary boundary between India and Pakistan in the Arabian Sea is just 20 nautical miles or 37.04 kilometres (1 nautical mile = 1.852 km).

"The very next morning we saw the Pakistani navy (the Pakistan Maritime Agency) surrounding six Indian boats including ours," says Karsan. "We were threatened to surrender for we had trespassed into Pakistani waters," he says.

On the trail of the terror boat

Not too sure about what was happening he decided to abandon his fishing nets and the catch and started to steer his ship towards Jakhau. But his trawler's speed was no match for the PMA's well-equipped speed boats and soon he and his crew were surrounded.

"They fired five rounds at us," he says, recalling his ordeal.

"I am sure we were arrested even when we were in Indian waters," he insists and rues the fact that the Coast Guard does not patrol the area as aggressively as the PMA did.

While five of his mates were taken aboard the PMA ship Karsan was asked to stay on board his boat at gunpoint.

"I had to steer my boat which they towed to a small port near Karachi," he says. The PMA permitted elderly and younger crew members on the Indian boats to board an Indian boat and return home, he adds.

Along with some 13 fishermen he was taken to the Malir Landhi jail in Karachi, on a small bus. He remembers vividly seeing scores of Indian fishermen in the jail, crammed inside narrow cells. Ten to fifteen fishermen were shoved inside a 10 feet by 10 feet cell.

"There was not enough ventilation, no proper sanitation and not enough drinking water," he says about his days in captivity.

Image: Indian fishing boats in Pakistani captivity off Karachi. Kind courtesy: National Fish Workers Forum, Gujarat

Also read: ISI raises Rs 1,800 crores for terror: Intelligence Bureau
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