Monday, August 29, 2005

All in the name of a 'spy'

Firstly let us set aside our anti-Pakistan attitude and think whether Pakistan will sentence someone to death in a case of mistaken identity? That too when there are scores of Indian nationals in Pakistani jails and in this case the so called victim has been on trial for fifteen long years. Worse Pakistan is supposed to have got the wrong man. Its hanging Sarabjit Singh instead of Manjit Singh! Oh..well!

With due respect to the family of the 'spy', this whole episode is an embarrassment to everyone. Surely Pakistanis are not fools to hang someone who according to his family simply drifted into Pakistan by mistake. He is either a spy or a criminal and considering his conviction by Pakistan's highest court for involvement in serial bombings, must surely be hanged. But his family, the media and the politicians have made enough noises to bring this case to the national headlines. They wanted Manmohan Singh to plead for his life with Musharaff.

What if he was indeed a spy? Say he was recruited by RAW during the counter-insurgency operations in Punjab. He then went on to bomb several cities in Pakistan either on RAW instructions or for some terrorist organization. If that is the case (which I believe is very likely), should the Indian government come out and accept that he is indeed a spy and that RAW bombs Pakistani cities every now and then? Will Manmohan Singh face Musharaff in the eye and request him to pardon a spy?
Good that he has decided to stay away and has asked officials to fix this. But the damage has already been done. Some Pakistanis and Kashmiris are already demanding the pardon of the terrorist sentenced to death in the Parliament attack case.

I think this issue raises questions of ethics in the Media. Should the media highlight issues which may be a life and death situation for some individuals but are inmical to national interests. Similar thing happened during the Kandahar Indian Airlines hijack episode. Media then put unnecessary pressure on the government and forced its hand to release militants. (Not sure govt had any other option though) This question is alive in the US too as exemplified by the NY Times related spy exposal case. Although I'm not able to make up my mind on media ethics in this regard, I do believe Indian government should not entertain this "Save the spy" campaign.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am not sure I agree. It is the responsibility of the Indian Government to protect it's citizens who are overseas. It is another matter as to whether he is a "Criminal" under Indian law. That is to be tried and proven in an Indian court. Mind you, I said Indian court, not a court of a foriegn country.
If he was a spy for RAW, it becomes a matter of prime importance that all efforts are done to save him.

I disagree that this incident be compared to the hijacking incident. Then and even now Indian media is immature at best, but I do like that there is a lot of hype on this subject...meaning Pakistan can't take drastic actions.

My 2 cents...

Balaji said...

I can understand your view. Some countries especially US insist in their citizens being tried according to their laws. But India has let several of its citizens die based on trial in foreign courts especially drug related cases in Gulf countries. In this case, we must remember that he has been convicted of serial bombings. I find no reason why the government should try to save his life. Ofcourse if he is a spy who carried out RAW instructions, then its unfair and damning!

Balaji.

Balaji said...

Just a follow up...

Now that the so called spy has confessed (may be Pakistan dangled out the carrot of pardon to have him confess, so what?) what are we going to do? Rub the egg off our face?! I had warned against such stupid display of jingoism and so called humanity. We reckless Indians particulary the media and the government should atleast now try to distance themselves from these kind of nuisances.

Balaji.

Anonymous said...

mmm, I can never trust the pakistanis, whether it is the way they play their cricket, or the way they deal with India politically...there is something about them that is not right - they are full of deceit, lies, hatred...something about them....

Maybe this masks my view...I still see this as my fellow countryman against pakis...there is something about them...can never trust them.