54 Indian soldiers rotting in Pak jails for decades

54 Indian soldiers rotting in Pak jails for decades

A total of 54 soldiers missing in the 1965 and 1971 India-Pakistan wars are believed to be languishing in Pakistan jails, parliament was informed Monday.

File photo: Lt Gen A.A.K. Niazi Surrendering to Lt Gen J.S. Aurora in the 1971 war.

Despite India taking up this matter, Pakistan has not acknowledged the their presence in its custody, Defence Minister A.K. Antony told the Lok Sabha in written replies to questions from members.

"Fifty-four missing defence personnel of 1965 and 1971 wars are believed to be in the custody in Pakistan. The government has repeatedly been taking up the matter with the Pakistan government. However, Pakistan does not acknowledge the presence of any such personnel," he said.

The minister noted that a delegation of 14 relatives of missing defence personnel visited 10 jails in Pakistan in June 2007. The delegation could not conclusively confirm the physical presence of anyone, he added.

"However, the families of the missing defence personnel have been given liberalised pensionary/rehabilitation benefits as per extant rules," Antony said.

Further, orders have been issued for compliance of judgement of Dec 13, 2011 passed by the Gujarat high court regarding payment of service and retirement benefits to the next of kin of the missing defence personnel as if they had retired on superannuation, he added.

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