This latest arrest took place on the night of January 16. Barely ten days earlier, the Pakistani Maritime security had on January 7, arrested ten other Indian fishermen and seized their boats.
In all such cases, the fishermen were charged with violating the territorial waters of Pakistan.
Many among the Pakistani prisoners released by India were also probably fishermen held on identical charges. They had been languishing in Indian jails even after completion of their jail terms - a story that is all too familiar for Indian prisoners in Pakistani prisons too.
According to a report in daily The Hindu, "A Bench of Justices Aftab Alam and R M Lodha passed the order while issuing notice to the Centre on petitions filed by (journalist and human rights activist) Jatin Desai, who brought to the court's notice that 877 Pakistanis, most of whom had crossed the border, had been languishing in prisons in India for a number of years."
This situation exists on the Pakistan side of the border as well, as has been extensively reported in these pages previously.
The Indian Supreme court, according to news reports, in its brief order, said the identities of the 61 prisoners "should be verified forthwith and they should be released if their status was confirmed without waiting for a formal court order".
Justice Alam is reported to have told the Solicitor-General who had agreed that the government would pass appropriate orders once the identities were established and travel documents accepted, "We deeply appreciate your efforts in this matter. But we expect a little more sense of urgency. While the track record of our country in protection of human rights is far better than some other countries, still we feel there is a lack of urgency demanded under Article 21 of the Constitution [right to life and liberty]."
"Justice Alam also favoured the Centre putting in place a proper mechanism to deal with such cases. For, the court was repeatedly coming across such cases."
Justice Alam's observation cannot be faulted. A proper mechanism is urgently needed to prevent this constant cycle of arrest, release and repeat that has been going on for far too long.
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
An online video about Sikhs looking after a mosque built by his ancestors inspires
the writer to re-connect with his past across the border
By Syed Saadat Hu
I had the opportunity to lead an 80-member high-level business delegation of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) to Pakistan in May 2012 f .....more
RIP Asghar Ali Engineer
A legacy of peace, rational thinking,
Asoft spoken, gentle and unassuming person, always clad in a .....more
Time to douse the fire
"Pakistan-India relations have been strained for decades due to a number of well known issues - Kashmir, water, sporadic skirmis .....more
An innovative idea connects Indians and Pakistanis with 'the other side'
"It saddens me that we have neighbours that we can't even go visit." "The .....more
Congratulating Nawaz Sharif on the electoral win of his political party, Aman ki Asha's plea to both governments continues to be: "Stay the course". Let the people re .....more
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The News on Sunday Special Report: India Pakistan prisoners more editions
We probably didn't need to do this Special Report. Newspaper stories don't matter when it comes to Indians in Pakistani jails and vice versa. In fact, 'vice versa' sums it up. We do to them what they do to us.
Except when the two countries decide to begin talking, yet again! This time a little before the foreign secretary level talks, some Pakistani prisoners were released by India (and vice versa must have happened) and some more were release....read more
For the past 2 years the Jang Group and Geo have been working on a project of great national interest; one that we hope will help usher in an era of peace and prosperity in the country and indeed, in the region. And one that hopefully all Pakistanis can be proud of. more
The Jang Group has entered into an agreement with the Times of India Group, the largest media group of India, to campaign for peace betw