HC notice to Centre as Bathinda soldier’s wife wants him back from Pak
Havaldar Dharma Pal Singh was captured by the Pakistani army on the Bangladesh border and was later declared as martyr by the Indian government. However, his wife claims that she found that he was in the Kot Lakhpat Jail in Pakistan from July 1974 to 1976.punjab Updated: May 19, 2017 20:03 IST
The Punjab and Haryana high court on Thursday sent a notice to the external affairs ministry on a petition seeking a direction to the Centre to file a case in International Court of Justice (ICJ) for repatriation of a Bathinda soldier, Havaldar Dharma Pal Singh, who took part in the 1971 war with Pakistan.
The notices happened to come on a day when the ICJ at The Hague ruled that Pakistan should not hang, for now, former Indian navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav, who is death row on spying charges in the neighbouring country. “Pakistan shall take all measures at its disposal to ensure that Mr Jadhav is not executed pending the final decision in these proceedings,” the top United Nations court said in a decision that it termed unanimous and binding.
Havaldar Dharma Pal Singh was captured by the Pakistani army on the Bangladesh border and was later declared as martyr by the Indian government. However, Dharma’s widow Pal Kaur came in contact with one Satish, an armyman who was released from Pakistani jail, in 2016 and the latter told him that her husband was housed with him at the Kot Lakhpat Jail in Pakistan from July 1974 to 1976.
Satish said he was later shifted to a different prison. He also gave Pal Kaur an affidavit on her husband being captured alive by the Pakistani army following which the woman moved the HC.
In her petition, Kaur has sought direction to the Centre to start process to get Dharma back from Pakistan. “Appropriate proceedings, if necessary, could be filed in the ICJ for seeking his release under the Shimla Agreement between India and Pakistan for the release of prisoners of war,” said Kaur’s lawyer Hari Chand Arora.
Arora also cited the recent case of Kulbhushan Jadhav, a former Indian navy officer, in whose case the India has moved the ICJ.