…should receive better treatment than they get in Pakistani ones
If Indian authorities treat Pakistani suspects with distrust and higher than usual suspicion then the primary responsibility lies with the Pakistani government. Its cultivation of all shades of terrorists and criminals have made Pakistani nationals suspect not just in India, but in many countries around the world. Every year, India arrests a number of Pakistani citizens on various charges. It is reasonable to expect that at least some of them are involved in terrorism or espionage. But it is also reasonable to expect that a number of them, perhaps even a majority, are either wholly innocent or involved in minor offences. The wheels of justice take their own time to roll, these suspects, under-trials or convicted criminals find themselves receiving the hospitality of the Indian state for lengths of time.
Recently, the Pakistani government has complained that its citizens are being subject to torture in Indian prisons. The Daily Times writes:
India catches Pakistanis without valid travel documents then keeps them in jail for a long time. They are mostly poor people who have strayed across the border. After that India tortures them to such an extent that they lose their minds. No Indian jail can do this normally. There have to be special orders, or a general understanding about Pakistanis being â€˜enemyâ€™ people, for this to happen. In 2005, after much haggling, India returned 97 Pakistani prisoners rotting in its jails. Fully 50 have gone mad. In 2006, it returned 19, out of whom eight are completely insane. [DT]
At first glance, this appears ironic and presumptuous—for here is a government that treats the rights of its own citizens and prisoners with utmost contempt pointing fingers at India. Isn’t this another PR exercise? It probably is. Even so, there is absolutely no reason why India must single out Pakistani prisoners for undue harshness. It is not about the Pakistani government’s locus standi in this matter: it is about India’s own standards of civilised behaviour.