Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Saturday, April 21st, 2018

Releasing Prisoners for Peace?

21 prisoners have been released from Nimruz jail and 73 got their terms cut short on Tuesday May 10, 2011 under a Presidential decree. This is a process that has been going on since last two years. Hundreds of prisoners, prosecuted and punished on criminal trials, have been released under the confidence building measures of President Karzai to woo Taliban insurgents for peace talks.

But the most concerning part of this loose process of releasing prisoners is that among them hundreds of notorious Taliban were also included. There have been reports that many of those released during the last two years have joined the frontline of insurgency fighting against foreign troops. President Karzai started this process to persuade Taliban for negotiations and in hope that the insurgents will give up militancy and it would create the basis for trust to start the process of reintegration. But the results have been reverse. Many of the notorious militant leaders released have joined back the ranks of insurgency. Those released after the recommendations of Peace Jirga, have all joined back the insurgency.

If prisoners, criminals and militants who are proved having killed innocent civilians are released in such a way, then why our security forces are fighting them?
The other day, prominent opposition leader and member of the High Peace Council, Haji Mohammad Mohaqiq said this process has to stop. He strongly criticized the Council which he is a member of, for releasing notorious prisoners. As it has been reported in media, Mr. Mohaqiq said the release of insurgents from jails can hugely contribute to deterioration of security situation. Mr. Mohaqiq called it against laws and constitution.

The Peace and Reconciliation Commission has released more than 8700 prisoners in last couple of years. A couple of months back, the Governor of Helmand Gulab Mangal had said a huge number of insurgents pardoned by President Karzai and released from Bagram and Pul-e-Charkhi prisons have joined back the insurgency in his province.

The process of releasing prisoners is a blind one without any strict checks by the intelligence, or surety from those released not to join the insurgency.
The Government must stop this process and make a strict check. Such a blind process of efforts to appease the militants won't persuade them to come for negotiations. Otherwise it is injustice to everyone who has committed crimes of murder, robbery and imprisoned for their terms. The process of reconciliation and peace should not sacrifice justice and accountability in this country. But alas President Karzai is ruining the whole concept of crime.