Islamabad: The governments of India and
Pakistan should take steps for the early release of nationals
of both countries who are in each other's jails and for the
repatriation of prisoners who have completed their sentences,
leading rights activist Ansar Burney said on Tuesday.
Burney, a former Minister for Human Rights, said the
prisoners, including fishermen, should be freed and
repatriated in the interest of human dignity.
There are dozens of prisoners in Indian and Pakistani
jails who completed their prison terms decades ago but are
still waiting to be released, he contended.
"During this period, they have lost their mental
balance and became lunatics or contracted diseases like
tuberculosis," he said.
Burney said there were "more than 60 cases" of
Pakistani prisoners in jails in the Indian state of Punjab
who had completed their sentences but had not been released.
"After the completion of an Indian prisoner’s
sentence, his or her detention or confinement in Pakistani
prisons is against the constitution, law of the land and
against the human rights charter of the United Nations," he
Burney has requested the Presidents and Prime
Ministers of India and Pakistan to direct their governments to
release all prisoners who were in jail even after the
completion of their sentences.
He asked both governments to treat the prisoners as
humans and not as enemies.
"I have full hope that the Indian and Pakistani
governments will definitely consider my request on
humanitarian grounds and release all prisoners who have
completed their sentences, including fishermen," he said.
First Published: Tuesday, July 27, 2010, 22:52