Pakistan releases 10 indian prisoners inlcuding 7 Fiishermen #goodnews


Yudhvir Rana, TNN
AMRITSAR: Pakistan government has released 10 Indian prisoners including 7 fishermen from Karachi‘s Landhi jail and from other jails of Punjab on Thursday. The released prisoners would reach Wagah(Pakistan) border on Friday from where they will be handed over to Indian authorities, informed Pakistan’s former federal minister for human rights Ansar Burney on Thursday.

Providing details, vice chairman of the Ansar Burney International Trust, Syed Fahad Burney said that they would receive the Indian prisoners from jail and would take them to Wagah(Pakistan) border in the trusts’ vehicles and handover them to Pakistan Rangers.

Indian fishermen who are being released by Pakistan are Mansingh Bhagwan , Khema , Shivdas, Manno, Bharat Dheeru, Govind Bamaniya and Lala Pansa Pansa Bhika Belu. The trust had taken up the cases of these 7 Indian fishermen with Pakistan government . “Still there are around 100 Indian fisherman are lodged in jails and the trust would also take up their case and appeal for their early release on humanitarian grounds” said Burney.

Burney informed that Ansar Burney International Trust had also planned to initiate a movement for the release of Indian condemned prisoners Sarabjit Singh and Kirpal Singh seeking their release on technical and humanitarian grounds.

The Trust would begin a nation wide movement for the release of Indian prisoners on death row Sarabjit Singh and Kirpal Singh. “Both of them have spend more than two decades in jail waiting to be hanged every day even as living a in the death cell is horrible” he said.

“Their release from Pakistan jail will help to ease tension between two nations and bring trust” he said. He said he had convened a meeting of Trust office bearers and other like minded associations to chalk out their future course of action for the release of Sarabjit and KirpalSingh.

 

Abolish death penalty in India, Pakistan: Burney


Vishal Joshi, Hindustan Times
Karnal, December 13, 2012

Former Pakistan federal minister and human rights activist Ansar Burney has advocated a complete abolition on awarding capital punishment.
Interacting with the reporters here on Wednesday evening, Burney said that death sentence was a blot on humanity and it should be

 

He informed that there were eight thousand persons awaiting gallows in Pakistan.

“This is a very serious issue and I appeal both India and Pakistan to end the inhuman practice of awarding death sentence. In most of the cases, the criminals are victims of legal system or circumstance and the society should act sympathetically towards them,”said Burney, who is fighting for the release of several Indians, including Sabarjit Singh, lodged in Pakistan jails.

Burney had reached Karnal on Wednesday to receive an award “Manav Mitra” by a local NGO.

The former federal minister of Pakistan said that in his country fanatic religious leaders were fanning extremism.

“By promising false things in the name of religion, the Pakistani religious leaders are brainwashing the innocent minds and slipping them in the world of violence. When these youngsters are caught then a death sentence is demanded, but the root cause remains flourishing,” he said.

However, Burney clarified that he was not opposed to the death sentence awarded to Ajmal Kasab, a Pakistan national caught during Mumbai terror attack.

He claimed that his trust would not demand to get Kasab’s body buried at Yarwada jail in Maharashtra as “I do not support a case where a person had killed several innocent persons”.

“As a lawyer I welcome the Indian court’s judgment, but we should not advocate death penalties. Recently, I had again filed a petition to the Pakistan president Asif Ali Zardari to convert death sentence of nearly eight thousand convicts lodged in different jails, into life sentence,” he said.

Burney said that though commoners had always favoured peace with the neighbouring Pakistan, few politicians of both nations were fanning hatred for their own petty gains.

“Electorates of both countries should vote out such politicians who promote hatred with neighbouers. Forgetting mistakes committed in the past, both countries should follow the peace map of European Union to bring harmony in the sub-continent,” he added.

 

Sarabjit, Kirpal may get life as Pak commutes death penalties #goodnews


 

, TNN | Aug 13, 2012, 05.25AM IST

AMRITSAR: The Pakistan government has provided a fresh lease of life to Indian death row prisoners Sarabjit Singh and Kirpal Singh when it began the process of commuting all death sentences into life imprisonment.

According to Pakistan’s former federal minister for human rights Ansar Burney, it’s for the first time that Pakistan has taken such a step. The move comes four years after former PM Yousaf Raza Gilani had announced to commute all death sentences into life imprisonment.

Burney told TOI on Sunday over the phone from Khartoum in Sudan, where he is on a humanitarian mission, that Pakistan government has sought advice from relevant ministries and provincial authorities by Monday, August 13.

He said that Ansar Burney Trust International had also filed several petitions with President Asif Ali Zardari requesting that all death sentences be commuted to life imprisonments considering that a large number of those condemned to death were either innocent or had spent decades awaiting death.

Gilani had announced during an address to the national assembly on June 21 2008, soon after assuming office, that his government would take a proposal to the presidency to convert all death penalties into life-terms. Burney informed that over 7,500 prisoners in Pakistani jails were on death row.

“Many are innocent and victims of false testimonies or circumstances like Sarabjit and Kirpal. Hundreds are now physically and mentally disabled due to decades of imprisonment in the harshest conditions,” Burney said.

ABOVE– kirpal caught in 1991 and today

 

Endless wait for return of a ‘martyr’ from Pakistan


Gautam Dheer, Apr 28, 2012 : Deccan Herald —For over three decades, 61-year old and ailing Angrez Kaur lived a life in tremulous dilemma unsure if her husband was alive or if she was a widow. 

Angrez Kaur with her son Amrik Singh (left) and grandson Ramandeep Singh.Her son Amrik Singh has only seen his father Surjit Kumar, a Border Security Force constable, in pictures hung on the walls in the house.

He was barely a month-old when Surjit went ‘missing’ in the 1971 war with Pakistan from Jaisalmer in Rajasthan.

He was a Prisoner of War (Pow) in Pakistan. Three years after the war, the BSF declared Singh dead, a martyr in records.

But then the unexpected happened.

Indian prisoners repatriated from Pakistan jails in 2004 revealed that Surjit Singh was still alive and languishing in a Pakistan jail. Seven years later, the family’s endless wait for Surjit to return continues.

Kaur and his son Amrik have little choice but to cling on to hope of being one with Singh in this lifetime. BSF records still read him as a martyr and the Indian authorities haven’t been able to make tangible headway to secure the release of a martyr”.

“It has been over 40 years of pain. It’s not entirely impossible to reconcile with the loss of a loved one if you are sure of it. But it’s the prolonged uncertainty over your husband’s life that haunts me everyday,’’ Kaur said.

Ferozepur resident Satish Kumar Marwaha vouches for the fact that Surijit is alive. Surjit and Satish were in the same barrack for several years until Satish was released from a Pakistan jail.

But Surjit’s family hasn’t given up. And hope comes from Pakistan’s former
Federal Minister for Human Rights Ansar Burney.

Amrik and his uncle Dr Ajay Mehra, a medical practitioner in Faridkot, met Burney a few days ago. Hope rekindled after Burney assured them of all possible help to secure Surjit’s release.

Talking to Deccan Herald, Amrik said:

“ My mother at times gets up past midnight and wants me to talk to her about my father. She feels happy when I tell her that her prayers will be heard soon. She tells me to visit every Baba (godman) who comes to the village.’’

Kaur’s marriage was just two years old when her world fell apart after Surjit Singh went missing.

All she was then told by the BSF that her husband could have been captured as a PoW by Pakistan, or perhaps, may have even died in gunfire. His fate was sealed in 1974 when the BSF officially declared him dead, a martyr in their records.

Burney has been pursuing the matter in Pakistan since last year. In fact, it was Burney who called up Surjit’s family last year to reconfirm that the Indian soldier was alive and in a jail. Singh was awarded death penalty as a PoW in Pakistan. But, his sentence was eventually converted into life imprisonment.

All these decades he was kept at the Kot Lakhpat Jail in Lahore. His jail term ended in December last year, said sources. The family has repeatedly taken up the matter with the BSF. The organisation says it has held meetings with the Pakistani Rangers to facilitate Singh’s deportation.

After Surjit did not return from the border and news of Surjit going missing poured in, Kaur returned to her parents in Faridkot town in Punjab. Kaur chose not to remarry. Amrik said, he has appro­ached all agencies for help, but his father still languishes in Pakistan jail.

The Ministry of External Affairs had told Kaur in August 2005 that the BSF had taken up the matter with the Pakistan Rangers in October 2004. But nothing worked out.
Burney said he would meet Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani for the early release of Surjit.

Angrez Kaur recalls the ordeal when her husband went missing in 1971. The government told her that Surjit went missing on December 3, 1971 night from Jaisalmer in Rajasthan.

“Amrik was in my lap when my world crashed. Nobody was sure where my husband was. Something kept my belief that my husband was alive, despite the BSF formally declaring him dead in 1974. His photographs are the only memories. My son Amrik has picked up photography to make a living,” Kaur said.

Ashes of Indians in Pakistan

Ashes of at least 53 Indians, who died languishing in Pakistan jails, are still kept in Pakistan prisons.

The revelation was made by Ansar Burney during his recent visit to India last week.

Burney said he will take up the matter with the Pakistan government so that the ashes are brought to India and last rites can be performed by families here.

Pakistani human rights activist asks govt to reveal identities of Indian Prisoners of War


, TNN | Apr 23, 2012, 07.03PM IST

AMRITSAR: Pakistan’s former Federal Minister for Human Rights, Ansar Burney has asked Pakistan to reveal the identities of Indian Prisoners of War (PoW) who had died in its custody.

The Human Rights Activist has argued that Pakistan should make the disclosures, based on the ashes of the prisoners kept in jail. Burney said that this would make information available to relatives of the PoW, thereby ending their agonizing wait.

”Not only Pakistan but the Indian government should also provide accurate information of Pakistani PoW”, said Burney. He added that mutual exchange of crucial information could facilitate cordial equations between the two nations.

Burney, who was on the forefront of negotiations with Somalian Pirates, to secure the release of crew members aboard MV Suez, suggested that both India and Pakistan should step up maritime rescue efforts. MV Suez was hijacked by the sea bandits on August 2, 2010.

Let the world see how India and Pakistan can jointly fight to save their nationals” said Burney.

Burney, who has also been actively campaigning to save the life of Sarabhjit Singh facing death penalty in Pakistan, has sought commutation of Sarabhjit’s death sentence. “I will not let Sarabjit hang in Pakistan,” said Burney, challenging Singh’s death row. He has also sought leniency for Kirpal Singh, another convict, who has been on death row since 1992 in Pakistan.

Burney also expressed hope for Pakistani doctor Khalil Chisty of returning to Pakistan. Chisty, 80, who was sentenced to imprisonment in a jail in Ajmer for involvement in a clash that lead to the death of one person in 1992, was recently released on bail.

Activist asks India, Pak to mend ties


Jaipur, April 13 2012, DHNS:

Pakistani rights activist Ansar Burney on Friday demanded tangible action from India and Pakistan to mend their strained relation and prove that the recent meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistani president Asif Ali Zardari was not another futile do.

Burney said the governments of the two countries should soon do away with city specific visa system and issue country visas that would enable visitors to move around freely, thus enhancing people to people contact.

Speaking to the media on his way to Ajmer to meet Khalil Chisthi, the Pakistani scientist who was jailed in the country for the last 20 years, Burney said: “Chishti’s release would go a long way in the release of similar prisoners languishing in the jails of both countries.”

He added that a number of persons held captive in both countries for espionage were fishermen who strayed into foreign shores unintentionally.

Speaking on Sarabjeet Singh, an Indian facing death penalty in Pakistan, Burney said: “His petition for reverting death to life imprisonment with the Pakistani president may see the light of day.” Burney is Singh’s lawyer.

He however said Singh and Chisthi’s cases were different. While Chishti was a co-accused in a brawl that led to death of a person, charges levelled against Singh were far more serious.

“The Pakistani Supreme court had upheld his death sentence but it was delayed for the last 22 years that comes to his favour. After such a long sentence in a death cell, handing out death penalty is a serious human rights violation, he said,” Burney said.

Singh’s sister Dalbir Kaur and daughter Swapandeep also accompanied Burney to Ajmer.

Recently when Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari visited India on a “pilgrimage visit”, octogenarian Pakistani scientist Chishti was released on “humanitarian grounds”.

The grapevine had it that it could pave the way for the release of Sarabjeet Singh too after the noble gesture shown by the neighbouring country.