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Pakistan, Sri Lanka free Indian fishermen to mark Modi's swearing-in

May 25, 2014 11:06 AM IST Politics Politics

New Delhi: A day ahead of Prime Minister-designate Narendra Modi's swearing-in ceremony, both Sri Lanka and Pakistan have ordered the release of Indian fishermen in their custody.

Both Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa are being invited for the ceremony.

Pakistan will release 152 Indian fisherman while Sri Lanka will release all Indian fishermen arrested by the Lankan Navy for poaching.

Earlier this year, Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa had ordered the release of arrested fishermen after India abstained from voting on an anti-Sri Lanka motion at the UN Human Rights Council.

Rajapaksa tweeted, "As a goodwill measure on the occasion of Narendra Modi's swearing-in, President instructs officials to release Indian fishermen in custody."

Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said, "Looking forward to return of five fishermen to home in India from Sri Lanka after announcement by President Rajapaksa today."

Pakistan government has decided to release 152 Indian fishermen and a team from Gujarat has been sent to receive them on the Wagah border in Punjab, a senior state government official said on Saturday.

The fishermen will be brought to Veraval town in Gir Somnath district from where they will leave for their native places, Darbar said.

According to department officials, the fishermen hail from various parts of Gujarat, Daman and Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and other cities of the country.

They were captured by Pakistani marine authorities for allegedly entering into their territorial waters.

(With additional information from PTI)