By Ijaz Hussain
This is with reference to a feature titled ‘In Troubled Waters’ published on March 17, in which plight of Indian fishermen apprehended for illegaly fishing in Pakistani waters, was underscored by portraying Indian poachers as ‘inadvertent crossers facing persecution’. As a part of Indian, well-articulated strategy to devastate Pakistani agriculture by blocking water in three western rivers allocated through “Indus Water Treaty-1960”, similar efforts are being made to deplete maritime life in our Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). Nonetheless, thanks to Pakistan Maritime Security Agency (PMSA) who efficiently prevents such illegal activity and saves thousands of local fishermen from being deprived of respectful livelihood and sustenance.
According to marine experts, Pakistani has great quality of fish available in their creeks. The Indian fishermen deliberately take risk to fish in Pakistani territorial limits. Such poaching activities not only deplete the highly priced marine species, it also inflicts a loss of Rs 8.1 billion per annum (on the average 03 million kg per month) to the Government exchequer. During January 2012 to March 2013, 184 boats along with 606 Indian fishermen, who were fishing more than 25-100 NMs inside our EEZ were apprehended. It clearly reflects the deliberate intrusion marked by mala fide intent of the Indian authorities, especially when all the Indian boats have Global Positioning System (GPS) installed in their boats that tells the exact position of the boat.
Furthermore, the nets used by these so-called crossers are banned due to their small mesh which is capable of sweeping all forms of marine life. So, they are not innocent accidental crossers, as highlighted by the Indian authorities in the India-Pakistan peace parleys. PMSA is a dedicated and committed outfit with a singular objective of safeguarding the national maritime interests of Pakistan. The agency’s vigilant patrolling and clearing the Indian illegal poachers has substantially reduced the presence of Indian boats in our EEZ, thereby saving millions of kilogram of fish stockpiles from the fish pirates. Our hapless fishermen are really indebted to the services of PMSA that is keeping their honorable means of sustenance alive and available to them.