The central government wants him to do it, the Rajasthan government wants him to do it, but Rajasthan’s acting Governor Shivraj Patil wouldn’t sign on a file for several months now. His obstinacy could become a major hurdle for many Indians and Pakistanis lodged in each others’ prisons.
In an unusual order, the Supreme Court of India quoted William Shakespeare and Faiz Ahmed ‘Faiz’ to directly appeal to the government of Pakistan to pardon and release Indian prisoner Gopal Das. Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari signed the papers within 16 days, ahead of Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani’s visit to Mohali to witness the cricket world cup semi-final with his Indian counterpart. On 7 April, Gopal Das crossed into India. There were those in Pakistan who had opposed his release, arguing he had a few months left to complete his sentence, and that he should not be shown mercy because he had been found guilty in 1984 by a Pakistani military court on charges of being a an Indian spy. He and his family claimed this was not true, and wanted him pardoned because now 52, he had spent the last 27 years in several Pakistani prisons. Continue reading The inter-connected destinies of strangers across an international border