India releases 14 Pak fishermen ahead of talks in Islamabad

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New Delhi, May 18 (UNI) As a goodwill gesture, India has released 14 Pakistani fishermen ahead of the fifth round of the Composite Dialogue Process (CDP) between the two countries beginning in Islamabad on May 20.

The fishermen, who were from Karachi and Sindh, were handed over to the Pakistani authorities at Wagah border last night, official sources said.

The fishermen, in Indian custody since October 2007, were released as India and Pakistan prepare to begin their fifth round of the CDP from May 20 in Islamabad when the Foreign Secretaries of the two countries meet to discuss various issues under the CDP and review progress on the four rounds held earlier.

''We will be going to Islamabad to resume composite dialogue which has contributed so meaningfully to the improvement of relations between the two countries... India is ready to move the process forward by working together in an atmosphere free from violence and address all issues including Jammu and Kasmir and working together towards a long-term relationship,'' Foreign Secretary Shivshanker Menon told reporters here today.

Mr Menon who will meet his Pakistani conterpart Salman Bashir on May 20 in Islamabad will address all issues under the CDP.

The meeting between the two Foreign Secetaries will be followed by discussions between External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi.

Official sources said Mr Mukherjee was also trying for meetings with Pakistan Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani, Pakistan People's Party (PPP) leader Asif Ali Zardari and PML chief Nawaz Sharif.

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