Something must be done to free innumerable POWs in India and Pakistan: Fernandes

New Delhi, May 27 : As Sarabajit Singh, the Indian continues to languish on Pakistan’s death row, it is an opportune time to review the fate of several other imprisoned prisoners in India and Pakistan, feels former Defence Minister George Fernandes.

"What the country does not know is that there are innumerable Indian prisoners of war in Pakistan. Indian and Pakistan are at peace now and there are economic, trade and cultural relations between them, but no one know how many prisoners of war in Pakistan and perhaps how many Pakistani prisoners of war in India," writes Fernandes in the latest issue of the journal The Other Side.

"When I was the Defense Minister his (Sarabjit’s) people had come to my office in South Block, told me his story, and persuaded. They were of no avail. South Block said that it was difficult. The belief was that for soldiers who had done undercover activity for the country in the enemy country, it does not work to get them out and save their lives," states Ferandes, adding that he did go to the Pakistan High Commission and discussed the case with another appeal, but all in vain.

He says the Centre as well as people from all walks of life have taken up this matter as something in which they should also contribute and now the nation as a whole is hoping that Sarabjit will be saved.

He said it is a great tragedy that the enemy country kills these soldiers who do undercover action more often than not, quietly. Their families may not know of their fate and be praying and hoping that they may be alive.

"What hurts their parents and near and dear ones the most is the knowledge that their person is suffering in a way which is far worse than if it had been a straightforward issue of just being in an enemy jail."

In his article titled "Sarabjit and other Prisoners of War in a Time of Peace", Fernandes also mentions about "The Association of the Families of the Indian Prisoners of War Abandoned in Pakistan: 1971-72" which is making efforts to get Indian prisoners freed from Pakistan.

He makes a public appeal to contribute to The Association of the Families of the Indian Prisoners of War Abandoned in Pakistan: 1971-72 at the following address, C-204 Lagoon Complex, Ambience Island, NH-8, Gurgaon 120002 (Ph. 0124-3043204/9810066179. (ANI)