Islamabad: In a bid to develop friendly ties with India, Pakistan on Thursday freed 89 Indian prisoners, including fishermen, from a jail in Karachi. This step is part of a process initiated by the two countries to speed up the release of people held in each other's prisons.

The Indian prisoners after the release from Malir jail, boarded buses to Lahore so that they can be handed over to the Indian authorities at the Wagah land border crossing on Thursday.

The Indian prisoners were arrested between September 2009 and January last year, TV news channels reported. Their release was a follow-up to a meeting of the Interior and Home Secretaries of India and Pakistan in New Delhi last month.

Nasir Aslam Zahid, Chairman of the NGO Prisoners Welfare and Legal Aid Committee, told reporters that Pakistani authorities had granted consular access to another 33 Indian prisoners being held in Malir jail.

They too will be released in the near future after the completion of certain formalities, he said.

"It is our endeavour to remove hurdles and delays in the release of detained fishermen on both sides of the border," Zahid said.

The process of releasing prisoners, which suffered a setback in the wake of the Mumbai attacks in November 2008, has picked up pace after the two countries recently agreed to resume their stalled peace process.

Agencies