“I don’t want a government job or any other benefits, my only wish is to see my father back home,” said Baljinder Kaur, whose father sepoy Balwinder Singh of the 10 Sikh Regiment had gone missing in the 1971 Indo-Pak war.
Speaking at a press conference organised by the United Ex-servicemen Front for the release of the prisoners of war (PoW) languishing in Pakistan jails, in Amritsar on Thursday, Baljinder said: “My father was declared dead on December 16, 1971, but we come to know recently that he is alive from another war prisoner, Surjeet Singh, who was released by the Pakistan authorities in 2012. But we didn’t get this information at that time as we live in far-off Chamba Kalan village in Tarn Taran district.”
Chairman of the front captain CS Sidhu (retd) said: “The Indian government should step up efforts to ensure release of prisoners of war. If the government fails to do so, we will block the Attari-Wagah border in July and stop trade bus and train services between India and Pakistan.”
“There are many war prisoners from Pakistan in our jails too and their families are also suffering,” he added.
The front has written to defence minister Manohar Parrikar seeking release of Balwinder, who according to Surjeet is lodged in Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat jail.
Besides Baljinder, relatives of other prisoners of war havildar Dharampal Singh of the 4 Sikh Regiment from Bathinda district and nayak Bir Singh from the 15 Sikh Regiment from a village in Mansa, claimed they both are also languishing in the Lahore jail.
Dharampal’s son Arshinder Singh said: “We came to know about him from a war prisoner, Satish Kumar, who was released by Pakistan. We want him back.”