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QUESTION NO.2776 PRISONERS OF WAR

July 10, 2019

LOK SABHA
UNSTARRED QUESTION NO.2776
TO BE ANSWERED ON 10.07.2019

PRISONERS OF WAR

†2776. SHRI GOPAL CHINNAYA SHETTY:

Will the Minister of EXTERNAL AFFAIRS be pleased to state:

(a) whether prisoners of war were taken during Indo-Pak war of 1965 and 1971;

(b) if so, the total number of such Indian prisoners who are still imprisoned in the jails of Pakistan; and

(c) the details of discussions held/decisions taken by both the countries to ensure release of prisoners and accord humane treatment to prisoners in jail?

ANSWER
THE MINISTER OF STATE IN THE MINISTRY OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
(SHRI V. MURALEEDHARAN)

(a) to (c) As per available information, 83 missing Indian defence personnel, including Prisoners of War, are believed to be in Pakistan’s custody. The Government has consistently taken up the matter of release and repatriation of these missing Indian defence personnel with Pakistan through diplomatic channel. However, Pakistan has not acknowledged the presence of any Indian Prisoner of War/missing Indian defence personnel in its custody, so far.

Besides, 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.

The Government consistently takes up with the Government of Pakistan, the matter of early release and repatriation of all Indian civilian prisoners and fishermen, along with boats. As a result of persistent efforts, the Government has secured the release and repatriation of 2,110 Indian prisoners, including fishermen, from Pakistan’s custody since 2014. This includes release and repatriation of 362 Indian prisoners, including fishermen, this year, so far.

The External Affairs Minister, in October 2017, suggested to the High Commissioner of Pakistan that the two sides could work to resolve humanitarian issues related to elderly, women and mentally unsound prisoners in each other’s custody and consider their early release and repatriation. It was, inter alia, proposed to revive the mechanism of Joint Judicial Committee and that a team of Indian medical experts could be allowed to visit the mentally unsound prisoners with a view to facilitate their nationality verification and subsequent repatriation. Pakistan responded positively on 7 March 2018. India has already shared the details of the medical experts team and the re-constituted Joint Judicial Committee with Pakistan with the request to organise their visit. Pakistan has not responded so far.

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