South Asians for Human Rights (SAHR) condemns the attack on Sarabjit Singh in Pakistan prison on 26th April 2013 and on the Pakistani prisoner, Sanaullah, serving a life term in the high security Kot Balwal jail on the outskirts of Jammu, by a fellow inmate on 3rd May.

This attack comes as an immediate reaction to the attack and death of an Indian prisoner in a Pakistan jail, Sarabjit Singh, who died on 2nd May 2013 after fighting for his life for a week, on being attacked by fellow inmates.

The need of the hour is to stay calm and sane and to observe restrain. We need to uphold the virtues of decency and justice. SAHR strongly feels that reactionary politics and violence of any form is no solution to any problem.

As Gandhiji said, “an eye for an eye will make the whole world blind”. The region’s best tribute to Sarabjit’s memory will be to make sure that no prisoner is ill-treated in any country.

We also raise objections to the demands made by the right wing parties of India, to break off its dialogue process with Pakistan, because dialogue is the key to a solution of any problem between the two countries. It should continue uninterrupted and uninterruptible. India cannot simply break off the dialogue with Pakistan on the basis of the Sarabjit issue, as it would serve no purpose in the long run.

We feel that now it is high time for policy makers to bring prisoners’ issue and their safety to the fore and come up with a long term solution and policy to deal with fisher folk and other prisoners languishing in each other’s jails for years and some even after completion of their term.

The South Asian Human Rights community has been urging States to come up with a policy on this for a very long time. This policy must include repatriation of prisoners with long term sentences to undergo imprisonment in their own countries. We strongly recommend that concrete measures must be taken to ensure prisoners’ rights by application of international standards. Indian and Pakistani authorities need to meet immediately to devise measures that would ensure the safety, security and humane treatment of prisoners.

On behalf of South Asians for Human Rights,

Hina Jilani
Chairperson, SAHR