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‘Pray For Me’: Indian Fisherman’s Letter to Wife From Pakistani Jail

With no clear demarcation of the maritime border, India and Pakistan frequently resort to arresting fishermen who venture into the neighbouring country’s waters.

Vijaysinh Parmar | News18.com

Updated:March 8, 2019, 2:24 PM IST
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‘Pray For Me’: Indian Fisherman’s Letter to Wife From Pakistani Jail
Representative Image (Reuters).
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Ahmedabad: As tensions remain heightened between India and Pakistan over the Pulwama terror attack and the air strikes, a moving letter from an ailing fisherman lodged in Pakistan jail to his wife in Gujarat’s Kotda (Bandar) village, serves as a reminder to all of the futility of war.

In October 2017, the Pakistan Marine Security Agency had captured 50-year-old Punjabhai along with other fishermen close to the notional International boundary in Arabian sea.

Like the other fishermen who had been arrested at the time, Punjabhai comes from a poor background and is the sole breadwinner of a family of seven.

In his absence, his wife Dhani has had to look after their five children and bed-ridden father-in-law who suffers from amnesia.

On January 21, the unwell fisherman wrote to his wife from Pakistan’s Bandi jail about his deteriorating condition.

“I remember you at every dawn and dusk here in Pakistan Jail. The Pakistani jail authority treats us well and they do not harass us. But I am in bad shape. I am hospitalized due to abdomen problems and it is constantly swelling. I had been hospitalized twice in recent times but still I am suffering from abdomen pain,” the fisherman had written.

He further urged his wife to go to Hazarat Pir Dargah at Kadodara village and offer prayers for “his good health”. “If the medicine does not work, prayers at Dargah might work in the recovery of my health,” Punjabhai had written.

The fisherman had been captured twice before by the Pakistani authorities.

“Dhani, I have to remain in Pakistan jail and eat its roti until my fortune favors me. (Jab tak mere Bhagy mein Pakistan ki Roti Likhi hein Tab Talk Pakistan Jail mein Rehna hi Padega) and then only, I will get released. Do not worry about me and take care of children and keep me posted,”.

Captured fisherman Punjabhai's letter to his wife Dhani.

Back at home, Dhani is anxious about her husband’s deteriorating health and the dwindling prospects of his release due to the prevailing tensions between India and Pakistan.

“I have been waiting for my husband’s return for the last 16 months and it is getting longer and longer. His deteriorating health makes me worried. We do not have anything to even sustain our lives as the government is not providing the monthly monetary help of Rs 4500 which they had promised the captured fisherman's kin. I even went to Hazarat Pir Dargah and offered my prayers as well. I urge the government to do everything to bring my ailing husband back home, please,’’ an inconsolable Dhaniben told News18.

“Recently, I came to know through another letter from a fisherman lodged in Pakistan jail when he wrote to his family living in a village nearby that my husband was still in hospital,’’ she said.

According to a current estimate, around 500 fishermen from Gujarat are still lodged in Pakistan jails.

With no clear demarcation of the maritime border, India and Pakistan frequently resort to arresting fishermen who venture into the neighbouring country’s waters.

In many cases, fishermen spend years in Pakistan jail hoping for a ‘goodwill gesture’

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