Protecting real terrorists, prosecuting imagined ones

And a brilliant opportunity for Musharraf

Public opinion in India is a wonderful thing. Pakistan has long sheltered many men wanted for some of the worst acts of terrorism in India — from the leaders of various jihadi outfits to the leaders of terrorist groups responsible for the deaths of hundreds of innocent people in Punjab, Assam and Jammu & Kashmir. That Pakistan continues to deny that they are in Pakistan does not raise the hackles of the Indian public that very much.

Not so for Sarabjit Singh. The Indian people think he is innocent and hence deserves to be sent back home intact. Civil society has organised prayers, parades, rallies and vigils. They are even planning to flood Musharraf inbox. Politicians, sensing the mood of the electorate, have lobbied other politicians. Bollywood stars have thrown in their hats. The Indian foreign minister has already taken up the issue with his counterpart. The prime minister may do so too.

And in the process, Gen Musharraf has been handed a sitter. All he needs to do to become a nice guy in Indian public opinion is to pardon the condemned man.

9 thoughts on “Protecting real terrorists, prosecuting imagined ones”

  1. Come on, Nitin – isn’t it enough that an innocent (which I’m assuming Sarabjit is) man will get his life back? (Something about caring for the mangoes you eat, not counting the seeds….?)

  2. Raven,

    This is not so much a criticism of Gen Musharraf as it is a criticism of Indian public attitude. It would even venture that this is a microcosm of the Indian psyche, as exemplified by that oft-repeated refrain about the basis of India’s legal system: even if a hundred criminals get away, that one innocent man should not be unjustly punished.

    In my own opinion, it is not enough that an innocent man will get his life back. It is equally necessary for Pakistan to hand over Dawood Ibrahim, Paresh Baruah etc to face Indian courts. If it had claimed that it will not extradite Pakistani citizens, then that would be understandable. But Dawood Ibrahim, Paresh Baruah and the Khalistan terrorists are Indian citizens.

    Releasing innocent fishermen and villagers is a necessary but sufficient conditions for building genuine trust. Extraditing the guilty is a must.

    Btw, I think you’ve mixed two mango metaphors :-). There’s one about selling mangos and getting a good price on the seeds as well, and another about eating mangos and counting trees. Both are relevant to this case: the former applies to Musharraf, and the latter to the Indian public.

    Due apologies to those unfamiliar with Hindi/Urdu metaphors.

  3. Nitin…

    Ha you are wrong here

    The real saying is what raven said

    Ofcourse by misquoting the saying your arguement falls flat 😉

  4. Pakistan will now insist on a quid-pro-quo, i.e. release X, Y & Z rotting in an Indian jail and we will release Sarabjit Singh … where X, Y & Z would invariably be terrorists, perhaps someone accused in the Parliament attack case or the US consulate case or … you get the drift.

  5. I agree with you completely. Although Sarabjit Singh might very well be innocent, he was after all convicted of espionage in a court of law (back in the day when pakistan was still a Democracy), and was allowed to appeal his case up to the highest level. This whole incident is just playing into Musharraf’s hands.

  6. Raven,
    Sarabjit Singh may well be “innocent”, or not. I don’t know. But if he was convicted in a court of law in Pakistan, how then, is this request any different from Pakistan asking a terrorist from being pardoned?

    How do we actually define innocence in the first place?

  7. Born out of hatered, four wars in 58 years of existence, proxy war for last 15 years,attack on parliament and unabated terrorism. Where will this lead to ? Thousands of lives lost, thousands of young people are being used to engage in activities of espinoge, sabotage,hijack, kidnap and bomb blasts.Hence the birth of Sarbjits.time has come to rebuild cofidence, tolrence, faith and brotherhood.Let us not make one Sarbjit pay for this hatered of past 58 years.

  8. Pakistan was born out of fear of the domination by hindu majority not hatred .India is no angel either.The logic of partition demanded that kashmir goto pakistan India invaded Hyderabad did’nt it ?

Comments are closed.