NEW DELHI: Criticising Pakistan for making a video of IAF pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman’s capture and releasing it on social media, former Indian Army Chief General VP Malik (Retd) said, “His plane was brought down in Pakistan. He has to be treated like a prisoner of war.”
While Pakistan Government admitted to Wg Cdr Abhinanadan’s custody, parading him as evidence, apprehensions remain about his well being and future. Echoing General Malik, Former Air Chief, Air chief Marshal FH Major said, “He is a man in uniform and the Geneva Convention is automatically applicable if he is in the custody of the Pakistan Army.”
“India and Pakistan both are signatories to the Geneva Convention and it is applicable for conflict and conflict-like situations, which includes the prevailing one at the LoC,” said Major General SB Asthana.
The Geneva Convention specifies the rules protecting prisoners of war (POWS). According to the rules, the status of POW only applies in international armed conflict. It says POWs cannot be prosecuted for taking a direct part in hostilities. Their detention is not a form of punishment, but only aims to prevent further participation in the conflict. They must be released and repatriated without delay after the end of hostilities. The rules also specify that POWs must be treated humanely.