In the backdrop of the thaw between India and Pakistan triggered by President Asif Ali Zardari’s visit to the country, the Apex Court’s hammering on humanitarian note, granting bail to 80-year-old Pakistani scientist Mohammed Khalil serving life term in Ajmer jail, is a welcome move. Another division bench of the Supreme Court has asked the government to clarify as to why mentally retarded Pakistani prisoners are still languishing in Indian jails even after serving their sentence? It is strange that the government has failed to reciprocate in the same manner as expressed by the Supreme Court. The judges are of the view that top officials of both the countries should discuss the matter and should be more proactive in this regard. Time and again the fishermen who mistakenly enter the waters of their neighbor are made prisoners and they have to languish in jails for years. It is irony that on one hand we talk of cementing our relations with one another, on the other we take a tough stand on such petty matters. It is to be seen whether the Supreme Court’s decision will be able to bring about basic changes in the gesture of both the nations.

It would be better if the Home Secretary level talks between India and Pakistan scheduled for next month also focus on the condition of these prisoners. And for this basic changes need to be made. First of all Pakistan needs to bring about a change in its school curriculum where students are taught illusory facts about India thereby instilling hatred against their neighbor. Relations can never improve between both the nations if the youth of the country is fed distorted knowledge about the neighbouring countries. The formation of the Congress has been shown by Pakistan as a party formed to help the Hindus and discard the Muslims. This is nothing less than distortion of the facts. The history books in Pakistan are completely fabricated and antagonistic to the reality of India. Both the nations should discuss this issue with utmost priority so that the younger generation is not misled and better relations emerge.