Under Trials Across the Divide

Under Trials Across the Divide
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A Pakistani under trial has, on account of assorted illnesses died in jail. This cannot be an isolated incident as hundreds, if not more, under trials languish in jails across the Indo Pak divide. Be it Pakistani prisoners detained in India or Indian one’s in Pakistan, the saga constitutes a humanitarian issue which must be resolved at the earliest. Broadly speaking, relations between Pakistan and India have plumbed depths and are at a nadir. The price for the nature and denouement of this relationship is paid by an assorted number of people , which includes detainees and under trials. It constitutes a statement of fact to posit that the respective judicial systems of either country are clogged, flooded and bogged by unresolved cases, pending legal issues and other factors. Yet, again , and generally speaking, the price s paid by ordinary folk who either have to languish in jails or even die under incarceration. If this is not a humanitarian issue, what is? The question posed here is not rhetorical but is real with deleterious and, at times, tragic implications. Incarceration, generally speaking, not only mars the lives and lives chances of imprisoned people but also exacts a cost on their families. The issue is lent more poignancy when and if an under trial detainee dies in prison. Often times, the under trials in India and Pakistan are held for crimes which are not of a grand nature: wandering into each other’s proscribed territory, petty theft and so on. Punishment, if needed, must be proportionate to the nature of the “crime”. But, given that there is a hostile relationship between India and Pakistan, under trials must not be made to pay a price for this. In fact, the speedy closure of their respective cases must be expedited. One way of doing this is prisoner swaps. That is, those incarcerated in India and Pakistan respectively, must be swapped and exchanged by each country. This would not only make(render) the lives of these hapless people easier but also constitute relief for their families. Generally speaking, relations between India and Pakistan will not, in the least, improve in the immediate future, for a whole host of reasons but, on the margins( which is not to sat, not important) , life must be made easier for those who are trapped in the respective domiciles of each country, for reasons that are divorced from the actual Indo Pak relationship. Let the prisoners then be exchanged on grounds of humanity.