Pakistan seeks information on arrest of boats crew members by India

NEW DELHI, Apr 22 (INP): Pakistan approached the Indian external affairs ministry on Wednesday to seek details of the seizure of two Pakistani boats and crew members by Indian authorities earlier this week.

Early on Monday, the Indian Navy and Coast Guard apprehended a Pakistani boat with eight alleged smugglers and more than 230 packets of heroin with a street value of Rs 600 crore during an operation in international waters off the Gujarat coast.

A brief statement from the Pakistan High Commission said the external affairs ministry was formally approached “to share details of seizure of two Pakistani boats and apprehension of their crew members”.

The Coast Guard has said only one boat was seized but an official of the Pakistani mission said initial reports in the Indian media had stated that two boats – Fiza and Fatima – were seized.

“Nothing has been shared with us officially and we are only going by the media reports. We have also expressed our displeasure at information not being shared with us formally,” said the official who did not want to be identified.

The latest seizure came more than three months after a Pakistani fishing boat caught fire and sank during a chase by the Coast Guard off the Porbander coast on December 31 last year. The four crew members on board were killed.

Though the Indian government claimed the boat was set on fire by its Pakistani crew, a senior Coast Guard caused considerable embarrassment for authorities when he claimed in February that he had ordered the destruction of the vessel. The official was removed from his position after an inquiry.

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