Pakistani officials say President Pervez Musharraf has issued release orders for 589 Indian prisoners as a gesture of goodwill towards India.
General Musharraf said Islamabad initiated the process to release 529 fishermen and 60 other civilians after New Delhi confirmed their nationality. A foreign office spokesman said the prisoners will be released soon. Earlier this month, the Pakistani leader recommended that 800 Indian fishermen 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 move is the latest in a series of peace overtures between the nuclear-armed neighbors. India and Pakistan often arrest fishermen for straying into each other's territorial waters or villagers who inadvertently cross land borders.