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Pakistan Releases Over 200 Indian Fishermen In Goodwill Gesture

FILE: An Indian fisherman peers through prison bars while awaiting release in Karachi, Pakistan.

Pakistan has released 220 Indian fishermen in a gesture aimed at easing heightened tensions with its neighbor.

Pakistani officials said the Indian fishermen were released from a jail in the port city of Karachi on December 25.

The Indian nationals were arrested more than a year ago, accused of entering Pakistani waters in an area of the Arabian Sea where the border is unclear.

Another 219 Indian fishermen will be released by Pakistan on January 5, officials said.

The move on December 25 comes on the birthday of Pakistan's founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah and coincides with Christmas Day.

Pakistani officials hope the gesture will be reciprocated by India, which has detained scores of Pakistani fishermen.

Ties between the nuclear-armed neighbors have recently deteriorated over violence in the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir, which is divided between the two countries.

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters