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Pakistan to Release 700 Indian Prisoners

Pakistan says it will soon free 700 Indian fishermen and civilian prisoners, after President Pervez Musharraf ordered their release on humanitarian grounds.

A foreign office spokesman told reporters that the process of their release has already been initiated and they will be released soon.

General Musharraf last week recommended that 800 Indian fishermen should be freed after completing legal formalities. He also ordered the release of nearly 150 civilians, including 31 Indian Sikhs held after crossing from Iran. The military leader intervened after an appeal by visiting Indian communist leaders.

The move is one of a series of peace gestures between India and Pakistan. The nuclear-armed rivals often arrest fishermen for straying into each other's territorial waters or villagers who inadvertently cross land borders.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and Reuters.