|Sunday, October 07, 2012|
|Family waiting for fishermen jailed in India for 18 years|
Fifty-year-old fisherwoman Sakina Mallah is still optimistic about receiving her husband and two brothers, who were arrested with two other fishermen by Indian coast guards in 1994, after their boat got caught in a tropical storm and strayed into an undefined sea territory.
The ill-fated boat Al-Anwer had five crew members — Mai Sakina’s husband Hussain Walri, two brothers Siddiq Mallah and Achar Mallah, and two other fishermen Hanif Murgher son of Ishaq and Meenh Wasayo.
Sakina hails from Shah Bunder, Thatta district, and now lives in Ibrahim Hyderi along with her two children and ailing mother Mai Asi.
The depressed family received a letter by the missing men after five years from Ahmedabad Jail, India, and since then they have been waiting to see them released.
Sakina works in a trash fish warehouse in Ibrahim Hyderi.
After hearing rumours about the expected release of three fishermen—the relatives of Nawaz Ali Jat who recently died in India—Sakina Mallah has again started visiting the offices of Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum (PFF), Fishermen Cooperative Society (FCS) and others, seeking safe release of her husband Hussain Walri and two brothers.
A spokesman for FCS Ghulam Rasool Shaikh, who deals with the matter of detained fishermen, told The News that these people have definitely completed their sentence and they must have been released.
“But neither Indian nor Pakistani authorities have any concern to take the case on humanitarian ground to get them released,” he said.
“I know the family, the old Mai Asi, the mother of Siddiq and Achar and mother-in-law of Hussain. Now she has lost her eyesight and is worried about her sons,” he said.
FCS had taken up the case as per procedure, pleading that the detained people were fishermen and not smugglers. Anyway, now when they have completed their sentence they must be released soon,” he said.
He also asked the Indian and Pakistani governments to play their role in this regard.
Shaikh accused Indian coast guards of pushing the poor fishermen into jails for years without sharing any information with relevant organisations that have been working for the well being and securing release of the detained fishermen. At least the juveniles and the old and ailing people should be released unconditionally and repatriated to their homes, he stressed.
He further said they were sure that all the 11 crew members onboard the boat Mashallah, which went missing from the Karachi coast in 2009, would be in some Indian jail.
Sharing experience, he said usually in case of accident local people get the clue by finding the remains of boats or dead bodies in a few days, adding, “But there is no clue about the missing boat for the last three years which shows that they are in Indian jail”.
When Hussain was arrested his young son Asghar was four months old and now he is a grown up boy. His elder sons Mohammed and Akbar are married and live separately.
Sakina said: “I have received proposals from my relatives for my daughter Rozina but I wish to see her father get released and join us to decide about her fate”.
Another detained fisherman Achar has a daughter, who is now young. Siddiq has two sons, who live in Shah Bunder and earning livelihood from fishing.
Two other fishermen Hanif Murgher s/o Ishaq and Meenh Wasayo are unmarried and the girls who were supposed to marry them have tied the knot with other men after losing hopes of their return. The parents of Hanif Murgher and Meenh Wasayo are living in Chohar Jamali and Shah Bunder.
However, despite uncertainty the families of the detained fishermen have kept their hopes alive and waiting that their men would be released from the Indian jails in some point of time.