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May 09, 2013 at 06:22pm IST

Indo-Pak joint commission on prisoners is much needed: Zohra Yusuf

The tragic deaths of Sarabjit Singh and Sanaullah Haq after they were attacked inside jail premises in Pakistan and India have highlighted the plight of hundreds of Indian and Pakistani prisoners lodged in jails across the border. Can a joint India-Pakistan mechanism help better the situation? Can the human rights organisations pressure the governments of both the countries to take note of this? Zohra Yusuf, Founder, Chairperson, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, joined IBNLive readers for an interaction on the matter.

Q. Hi Zohra Yusuf, Madam I have direct question, why Pakistan did not establish Sarbjeet was mistaken Identity. What is your take on this. Or No Human Rights in Pakistan. Asked by: Jagannath Pujar

Indo-Pak joint commission on prisoners is much needed: Zohra Yusuf

Human Rights Commission of Pak's Zohra Yusuf joined IBNLive readers on the plight of prisoners across the border.

A. Pakistan tried him as a spy responsible for causing the death of 14 people. We campaigned for his release as he had served over 20 years in prison

Q. There have been reports in the Indian media that Pakistan still holds some Indian POWs from 71 and that many of them have now become mental patients. Can't HRCP do anything about them? They are no criminals and we released all Pakistani POWs a few months after the War. Asked by: Ahmed, Pune

A. HRCP has made several efforts, but could not get information on Indian POWS. Some families from India had also visited prisons in Pakistan. It is a tragic issue and I wish we could get reliable information

Q. With no dearth of hawks and hate-preachers on both sides, do you think their conditions are going to improve? Asked by: Sasikumar

A. The presence of hawks on both sides increases the responsibilities of the doves. We must resist their efforts to derail peace.

Q. Dear mam, an eye for an eye seems to be ugly and has left bad taste in everybody's mind who want the two countries to be atleast normal if not friendly..do u think the government on both sides of the border are bothered about what's next for the prisoners(on both sides)? Asked by: pallavi sakhare

A. Regrettably, the govts on both sides are making political mileage out of human tragedies. Sarabjit should have been provided adequate security & those responsible must be held accountable. Would say the same for Saniullah.

Q. The ruling party in PPP in Pak taints itself as a secular party..But was it showed any secular views by giving importance to prisoners of Indian origin who belong to minority communities? Asked by: Vinod K R

A. The PPP govt has been a weak one and foreign policy here is, regrettably, often determined by the menn in uniform. Yes, non-Muslim prisoners are more vulnerable & need greater security.

Q. Can the human rights organisations pressure the governments of both the countries to take note of the plight of prisoners across the border? Asked by: fatima

A. Yes, we should and often do.

Q. Can a joint India-Pakistan mechanism help better the situation? Asked by: Tiger

A. Yes, a joint official commission on prisoners is much needed (although NGO initiatives exist). The important thing is to see it as a humanitarian issue rather than an Indo-Pak tussle.

Q. The tragic deaths of Sarabjit Singh and Sanaullah Haq: the lessons learnt? Asked by: Kamya

A. I do hope our respective govts learn the lessons - i.e. do not keep each others' prisoners unnecessarily for long periods, provide adequate security and show clemency as far as possible.

Q. What is the solution? Asked by: laxman

A. I believe the two govts need to be on the same page - work towards an agreement on civilised & humane behavior towards each others' prisoners & not exploit issues for political gain.

Q. What should the govt of both the countries do? Asked by: Priya

A. Do see my answer to others - humane attitude, above all.

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