NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday expressed concern over the status of 54 Indian Prisoners of War (POWs) languishing in Pakistan jails since 1971.
A Bench of Justice T S Thakur and Justice Kurian Joseph asked Solicitor-General (SG) Ranjit Kumar, appearing for the Ministry of External Affairs and Ministry of Defence, “If the prisoners were still alive,” to which he replied in the negative. “We presume that they are dead as Pakistan has been denying their presence in its prisons,” the SG said.
The court sought to know whether the family members of these soldiers, who were in Pakistan for the 1965 and 1971 Wars, have been given the pay and retirement benefits. The law officer said this was being done. Referring to the contents of an affidavit, the SG said, “The exact status of these 54 missing defence personnel, believed to be in Pakistan jails, is not known. Of these 54 personnel, we don’t have service details of three.”