The animosity or differences between India and Pakistan should not impact the citizens of the two sides at all. However, this is not the case. India goes a step further in inflicting harms on innocent people to settle its score with Pakistan. Is this behaviour of seeing ordinary people as spies or enemies ingrained in Indian state psyche because of its occupation of Kashmir? Probably, that is the only explanation for yet another untimely death of a Pakistani fisherman in an Indian prison. While the causes of death are still not confirmed, but the news must have caused consternation within fishermen who are languishing in different Indian jails.

Not forgetting that earlier this month an 80-year-old fisherman Noorul Amin could not bear the brutalities of the jail staff in India. To the cruelty of India, Pakistan reciprocated by a display of humanism by releasing a batch of hundred fishermen from Malir Jail Karachi. However, neither did India feel any shame or remorse for the killing of Noorul Amin, nor did it reciprocate the Pakistani move.

The two sides need to realise that the fishermen that are caught for crossing the waters of the other side are not well equipped to gauge distances and not cross the invisible boundary in the sea. These people belong to the poorest of poor segments of both nations, whose only concern is to meet their ends. Yet the two sides, especially India, take pride in taking them as captives.

It is unfortunate that both sides treat each other’s fishermen in contravention to the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, 1963. The convention dictates that an arrested or detained foreign national be given access to his or her country’s consulate. In other cases, the two sides occasionally follow the articles of the international convention. However, in the case of fishermen, the two sides rarely follow the protocols. And what is worse is the fact that these poor folks receive the treatment like that accorded to the prisoners of war.

Both sides, especially India needs to show more humanitarianism in the aftermath of the release of hundred Indian fishermen by Pakistan. India is also releasing the fishermen, but only dead. And the tragedy does not end with this. The delay that the Indian state makes in sending home the remains of the deceased person compound the pain and suffering of the family – who has nothing to do with the animosity between the two sides. In short, the pattern of release of Pakistani fishermen as dead is getting grotesque. The frequency with which Pakistani fishermen are dying in Indian custody requires immediate attention from our government.