Prisoner Swap

Prisoner Swap
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The death of a sixty five year old, deaf and dumb Pakistani under trial in a Jammu jail is stands in a way as a metaphor for the pathos and bathos of the conflict that has had India and Pakistan in the grips and vortex of enduring and truculent conflict. The deceased man had apparently wandered to this side of the LoC, was apprehended and arrested and has now died, unclaimed and unmourned for. There must be innumerable under trial prisoners on both sides of the Indo Pak divide, languishing in jails, with either no reprieve nor relief in sight. The perpetual misery that under trials of both India and Pakistan have to endure calls for a relook at them in both countries. First, these people, have to endure lives in rather hostile milieus and climes, given they are each other’s Other captured and detained in hostile territory and conditions. Second, given their uncertain status, the families of Pakistani under trials in India and Indian under trials in Pakistan, either do not know their condition and status (whether they are alive or dead). This condition of uncertainty can be an agonizing one for the families and render them victims too, in the process. The question then is: what can be done about the issue of under trials in both India and Pakistan who happen to be in jails of respective countries? Can any relief be offered to them? The answer to both questions might actually lie in a prisoner swap by India and Pakistan. That is, Pakistani prisoners in India, and Indian prisoners in Pakistan, can be swapped and thereby transferred back to their countries. Yes, there can be legal issues given the legal differences between the two countries but it may be that criminal and civil law, in both India and Pakistan might have a similar ingress, in the least, conceptually, given their common British legacy. Therefore, this barrier might not be insuperable. Besides the inherently moral and humanitarian angle to a prisoner swap, it might also constitute a diplomatic opening and overture between arch antagonists, India and Pakistan. If this step is taken, it can potentially open the room and space for larger issues to be tackled and dealt with, in the realm of diplomacy. There then are moral and practical benefits to be derived from an Indo Pak prisoner swap. Let the process begin the soonest.

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