83 Indian Prisoners Of War In Pakistan’s Custody Since 1965, Pak In Denial
On Wednesday, July 10, Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan said, “Pakistan has not acknowledged the presence of any missing Indian defence personnel or Prisoners of War (PoWs) in its custody so far, despite consistent efforts from India to ensure their release and repatriation from the neighbouring country.”
Around 83 defence personnel, including Prisoners of War, are believed to be in Pakistan’s custody since 1965 and 1971 war. Many of them are believed to be alive and imprisoned in Pakistan’s jail.
MoS MEA, V Muraleedharan's reply in Lok Sabha to a question on 'number of Indian Prisoners of War (PoW) taken during Indo-Pak wars of 1965 & 1971, who are still imprisoned in Pakistan': 83 missing Indian defence personnel, including PoW, are believed to be in Pakistan’s custody. https://t.co/qeCPidaeda
— ANI (@ANI) July 11, 2019
V Muraleedharan informed the House that New Delhi had shared the details of the medical experts’ team and the reconstituted Joint Judicial Committee with Pakistan along with a request to organise their visit, but, Islamabad has not responded so far.
“As per available information, there are 64 Indian and believed-to-be Indian civilian prisoners and 209 Indian and believed-to-be Indian fishermen in Pakistan’s custody. Pakistan has, on 1 July 2019, acknowledged the custody of 52 civilian prisoners and 209 fishermen,” Muraleedharan said.
He also stated that the government had ensured the safe release of 2100 Indian prisoners, including fishermen from Pakistan’s custody since 2014. “This includes the release of 362 Indian prisoners, including fishermen, this year, so far,” the Union Minister stated.
India’s treatment of Prisoners of Wars
After the Pakistani Army surrendered at Dhaka in 1971, the Indian Army had captured over 90,000 Pakistani PoW. All the prisoners were treated well under the Geneva Convention and were later released at the Zero Point, Wagah, and the Line of Control (LOC).
The then Chief of Army Staff, Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw’s effort to ensure safety and security of the Pakistani POWs are well documented.
In October 2017, the former External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had suggested to the High Commissioner of Pakistan that the two countries should work towards resolving humanitarian issues related to elderly, women and mentally unsound prisoners in each other’s custody for their early release.