Surjeet and Sarabjit: IndPak prisoners’ issue

I was on live via telephone with Rajyasabha TV (a TV channel run by parliament of India) yesterday. The sound was very bad so I don’t know if people heard what I said. Here are my main points: 
1. Yes, it’s disappointing for Sarabjit Singh and his family that he was not released, but there are people working for his freedom too. Meanwhile, let’s be happy for Surjeet, imprisoned since 1984, and his family. [Postscript: In his press conference in India after being released Surjeet Singh said that it was the media that had created the confusion about Sarabjit’s release; no summary for Sarabjit was sent or received.]
2. There are people on both sides who don’t want peace between the two countries. These setbacks happen and will keep happening but we are on the right track, dialogue will and should continue, it’s part of a process
3. We are too impatient, expect too much too fast. The suspicions and patterns of past 60+ yrs can’t be erased in a couple of years only.
4. An Indo-Pak judicial commission is now in place and working to secure prisoner rights. But we should secure prisoner rights of our own citizens too – people languish in prison for years undertrial or not released even after completion of sentence.
5. This I didn’t get a chance to say but – I hope that Sarabjit’s mercy petition will be accepted and eventually he will be freed too. And also: both countries need to move on locating prisoners of war. Many may no longer be alive, but their families need to know either way.
Post script: Much is being made in Pakistan about Surjeet Singh’s confession since being released, that he was indeed a spy. My response: Surjeet was released not because he was innocent but because he had completed his sentence. Releasing him was the right thing to do. India had given him up for dead. Pakistan had caught, convicted, and imprisoned him. He was ‘discovered’ alive and identified only a couple of years ago. Isn’t thirty years in prison, cut off from all contact with home and country, enough?

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