Many languish in Pakistani jails because of New Delhi’s ‘magnanimity’

published on March 3, 2008


KS.bmpNew Delhi

:

Kashmir

Singh, the Indian Jawan who had been languishing in various jails in

Pakistan

for the past 35 years, was released on Monday from

Lahore

‘s Central jail.

Mr Singh was discovered by Ansar Burney, a social worker who tracks people lost in

Pakistan

‘s jail system. He was arrested in the city of

Rawalpindi

in 1973 and convicted of spying. Mr Singh had not received a single visitor or seen the open sky and like other condemned prisoners and was locked in an overcrowded death cell for more than 23 hours a day in conditions in which described as “hell on earth.”
Reports BBC


KS1.bmpOfficial records put the number of Indian prisoners in

Pakistan

, mainly from

Punjab

, Rajasthan and

Gujarat

-mostly because these share long borders with the country and entry through porous points- at 534. A few were arrested on espionage charges and sentenced to death when all they had done was stray across the dividing line.

Just 30 years old when arrested, Kashmir Singh is said to have voluntarily embraced Islam to lessen his torture in jail.

Many of them continue to languish in Pakistani jails because of New Delhi’s ‘magnanimity’ after the 1971 war, when India released over 92,000 Pakistani prisoners of war (PoWs), without bothering to check that each of its own men was returned. With

India

losing crucial bargaining power,

Islamabad

declared many captured Indian nationals, including PoWs, as ‘untraceable’ (read, ‘dead’).

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