Indian PoWs in Pakistan presumed dead: Govt to SC

Indian PoWs in Pakistan presumed dead: Govt to SC

Indian PoWs in Pakistan  presumed dead: Govt to SC

Government told the Supreme Court that the 54 defence personnel languishing in Pakistani jails were presumed dead since the neighbouring country refused to admit holding them.

A bench of Justices T S Thakur and Kurian Joseph, which enquired about the status of the Prisoners of War (PoW) held by Pakistan, directed the government to ensure that their dependents were given the retirement benefits.

As the hearing on a batch of petitions including the one filed by N K Kalia, the father of Kargil martyr Captain Saurabh Kalia, began, the bench asked Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar, “What is your understanding? Are they dead or alive?”

“We don't know. We have tried everything, but nothing worked out with them. They are not even willing to accept that there are Indian POWs in their jails,” Kumar replied.
He submitted that the exact status of 54 missing defence personnel, believed to be in Pakistan jails, is not known. Amongst 54 such personnel, no service details are available with respect to three personnel of the Indian Army.

During the hearing, the bench asked why the Indian government did not approach the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for getting information about the prisoners from Pakistan. “What is the problem? If a dispute over the waters in rivers Jhelum and Chenab can be moved, why cannot you move the ICJ on this,” the bench asked.

In response, Ranjit Kumar said India has not submitted itself to the jurisdiction of ICJ if the matter was about its armed conflict with Pakistan.

Kumar also read excerpts from the book 'Bhutto – Trial and Execution' by Victoria Schofield, a BBC reporter in which former Pakistan prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto recounted how he heard “horrific shrieks and screams in the dead of the night” from Indian Prisoners of War of 1965 and 1971 in Kot Lakhpat prison.
The court put the matter for further hearing on September 8.

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