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Old 11th February 2008, 20:39   #1
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Default Indian National in Pakistani death cell for 35 long years - Comes back and speaks out

Interesting story that was emailed to me earlier today. How dare the government do nothing for 35 years. I bet if he had been a ministers son he would have been freed in a few days. No justice for the ordinary man.

Ansar Burney finds Indian National in Pakistani death cell for 35 long years

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan's Federal Minister for Human Rights Ansar Burney on Monday revealed that he has traced an Indian national who has been languishing in a Pakistani prison for the last 35 years.

Kashmir Singh S/O Sansar Singh was arrested in 1973 on espionage charges in Pakistan and sentenced to death under the Official Secret Act 1923 by the Honourable Court of Field General Court Martial in Lahore 35 years ago. He has been languishing in a Pakistani death cell ever since.

Ansar Burney, a prominent human rights activist and Federal Minister for Human Rights, revealed that he had been informed about Kashmir Singh several years ago by members of the Indian Community in London; however at that time, he had been unable to locate Singh in his capacity as Chairman of the Ansar Burney Trust.

Therefore, after taking oath as a Federal Minister, Ansar Burney visited over 20 prisons all across Pakistan in relation to his prison reforms and prisoners rights work, and to search for a number of prisoners who he and his organization had been trying to locate for many years.

During a visit to Central Jail Lahore, Ansar Burney visited the various death cells and finally came across Kashmir Singh – now a weak, old and mentally disabled man.

His details were immediately called for from the Prison authorities and it was revealed that Singh had been confined for over 3 decades under the Official Secret Act in a death cell; and during all these years he had never received a single visitor or even seen the open sky, sun or moon. He, like other condemned prisoners, was locked in an overcrowded death cell for 23.5 hours a day, only allowed out for 30 minutes to stretch his legs.

Kashmir Singh, from the Indian province of Punjab, was arrested 35 years ago; and due to his long confinement in a death cell, which Ansar Burney describes as “hell on earth”, Singh became mentally disabled some years ago.

At the time of his arrest, he was a husband and a father of three young children – 2 boys and a girl. He has not seen any of them ever since over 3 decades ago.

A summary was immediately made by the Federal Minister for Human Rights, Ansar Burney, on behalf of the Human Rights Division of the Government of Pakistan to the President of Pakistan Pervez Musharraf for the early release of Kashmir Singh.

According to Ansar Burney, he has also met with the President in this regard and believes that a mercy petition by him will be accepted in the coming days and Singh will be released very soon. He said that the President, when informed about the case of Kashmir Singh expressed shock and disbelief; and promised to accept the mercy appeal and order the release of Singh in the coming days.

“Kashmir Singh has gone through hell during the last 35 years. He has suffered more than enough for his alleged crime. And I have personally requested the President to accept his mercy petition in the greater interest of human rights; and allow Singh to return home to spend the remainder of his life with his family” Burney said.

The Minister had also recently met the Indian High Commissioner in Islamabad in regards to prisoners in each others countries; and has since also written to the Indian High Commissioner in Islamabad to inform him about the case of Kashmir Singh and to help locate his family in India.

Senior lawyer and member of the International Bar Association (UK) and American Bar association (USA) Ansar Burney also stated that the case of Kashmir Singh was one of many foreign nationals that the Ansar Burney Trust and the Ministry of Human Rights was working on. He informed that he had received information from the Indian High Commissioner in Islamabad about the possibility of

Indian Prisoners of War in Pakistani prisons and confirmed that his Ministry was working to locate all such prisoners, if any.
In the meanwhile, Ansar Burney launched an appeal to try and locate the family of Kashmir Singh in India. He requested that anyone with information on the whereabouts of Kashmir Singh’s family to contact the Ministry of Human Rights in Pakistan or the Ansar Burney Trust (Ansar Burney Trust - Human and Civil Rights Organisation).

Last edited by bigman : 11th February 2008 at 20:53.
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Old 11th February 2008, 20:48   #2
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Its really sad! There are so many Indians (a lot of soldiers,and quite a few herdsmen/farmers) who were captured near the border,and they've been locked up for God knows how long.
80-90% of the POWs died within the first 10 years of their imprisonment,while a huge number continue to live a life of oblivion in the worst conditions possible.

I doubt if there are very many Pakistani soldiers who are help captive in India.Even if they are,the conditions given to them are much better.

God save these souls!
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Old 11th February 2008, 21:24   #3
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Yup, there was even a movie on this called "1971". I really don't see the point of detaining them for such a long time. What have they achieved by doing this?

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Old 11th February 2008, 21:28   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shan2nu View Post
Yup, there was even a movie on this called "1971". I really don't see the point of detaining them for such a long time. What have they achieved by doing this?

Shan2nu
Absolutely nothing. I remember reading this article that said that most Pakistani POWs are returned as a goodwill gesture within 6 months of them being held captive.
And our soldiers have died waiting to be released. Some continue to live,a namesake life of rotting away in cramped cells without any hygiene what so ever.

OT: Haven't had a chance to see the movie '1971'. Its next on the list..
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Old 11th February 2008, 21:54   #5
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I have managed to contact a few reporters and the story should be breaking in India tomorrow or Wednesday.

With this in the public domain it will hopefully galvanise the government to request the mans return. What a sad waste of 35 years, I dread to think what his family have been through and will now be put through. Hopefully Minister Ansar Burney will get him released and returned to India. He is known for his human rights work across the world (even before he became a minister).

If anyone has contact with any Indian reporters please ask them to carry this story. It is important we do not forget about these Indian citizens. If any of them need contact information for the Federal Minister mentioned in the story then please drop me a PM with their email ID and I will forward a mobile number for him.

Apparently there are more than 182 Indian prisoners (officially) still held in Pakistan. Some have been held without trial since 1971. Sadly out government have played mute spectators and not made an isse of their release. Can you imagine the Americans, French or Germans allowing their citizens to be held without trial for more than 30 years ?

Update : The story is now featured on a few news sites including Alleged spy lost on death row for 35 years | NEWS.com.au

Hopefully the Indian media will carry this and his family can be found.

Last edited by bigman : 11th February 2008 at 22:10.
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Old 11th February 2008, 23:11   #6
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Originally Posted by bigman View Post
Apparently there are more than 182 Indian prisoners (officially) still held in Pakistan. Some have been held without trial since 1971. Sadly out government have played mute spectators and not made an isse of their release. Can you imagine the Americans, French or Germans allowing their citizens to be held without trial for more than 30 years ?

Update : The story is now featured on a few news sites including Alleged spy lost on death row for 35 years | NEWS.com.au

Hopefully the Indian media will carry this and his family can be found.
It is not like government doesn't want to secure release of its citizens, its just that government's, most of the time, do not have the information.

Read the article you posted
Quote:
Human Rights Ansar Burney on Monday revealed that he has traced an Indian national who has been languishing in a Pakistani prison for the last 35 years.
So even their own ministers do not know who is languishing in the jails, we cannot expect Indian officials to know who is being in Pakistan jail and where, or whether the person is still alive. Pakistan is not a friendly country and the armed forces on both sides have lot of bad blood between them. It is not very easy to cut through the bureaucratic channels, suspicion etc and get them to acknowledge that our men are in their jails. It is not like they publish a yearly list of their prisoners. If the same person were arrested in US, France or any other country, India would be informed about it officially and vice versa. Not in case of Pakistan and China.

There are several 71 war heroes, including couple of air force pilots that are still languishing in Pakistan jails or atleast their families think they are. No one has ever seen them in pakistan. The families have made several trips to pakistan and visited jails but could never find them. Issues like these are very tricky, you cannot do anything if the other country denies its holding prisoners.
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Old 11th February 2008, 23:27   #7
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Quote:
So even their own ministers do not know who is languishing in the jails,
Even this has been shown in the movie. Whenever human rights officials came looking for the prisoners, they'd be shifted to a remote location. So the officials had no proof to prove that they even existed.



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Old 12th February 2008, 00:10   #8
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May God bless Ansar Burney and help Kashmir singh heal mentally and physically.
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Old 12th February 2008, 01:09   #9
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I am sure that Pakistani media would also be talking about alleged spy's held in India for 35 years.
Two nations at war since 50 years will hold each others citizens like this.
This is not an isolated case.
Many children from both sides are languishing in jails like this.
Even if this story is breaking news, soon some hen will give blue colored eggs and that will lead to communal riots between followers of blue and red religion and then Kashmir singh will be forgotten again, much like the namesake he is of.
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Old 12th February 2008, 01:26   #10
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Ansar Burney has published a list of over 180 Indian prisoners. Some have been held since 1971 without trial.

Lets see whether the Indian Government can take this issue forward. For the sake of the prisoners and their families I hope this issue is not dropped until they are released and back with their loved ones.

Quote:
It is not like government doesn't want to secure release of its citizens, its just that government's, most of the time, do not have the information.
Call me a cynic but the government knows more than they let on. Just look at the case of the two soldiers who were captured by Pakistan during the Kargil war. Were they not declared deserters ? Shame on the Indian Government. It is not just the government but our press which fails to publicise the injustice.

I know of another rather sad case dating back a few years in which Ansar Burney was involved. Some illegal immigrants were killed in a fake encounter in Macedonia by police/army. I think there were six boys shot in cold blood. Five were Pakistani and the Pakistani government lodged complaints etc. The sixth boy was an Indian, to this day he has not been identified and the Indian government have failed to do anything at diplomatic level. It would take 10 minutes to get a photo of him and find his family. Ansar Burney was able to find families of the Pakistani youth and a civil claim for damages was lodged in London on behalf of the families against the state of Macedonia. The name of the Indian youth is known and it is believed he was from Punjab. Besides that nothing has been done at governmental level to track down his family etc. Poor family probably still wondering what happened to their son all those years ago.

Last edited by bigman : 12th February 2008 at 01:27.
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Old 12th February 2008, 03:03   #11
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I have done some more research into this case.

The government has been aware of Kashmir Singhs detention for decades.

He is from :

Vill : Nangal Choran in Hoshiarpur.

Not sure if we have any team-bhp members from Hoshiarpur, but I will give Ansar Burneys office a call in the morning with details so at least some form of contact can be established between the family, Kashmir Singh and the Minister.

I hope he is released soon. Poor chap has suffered enough. The family were given RS 5000 in 1978 and officials used to visit the family. The visits ceased more than a decade ago. Nice thankyou from the state. Shame on all those involved.

Last edited by bigman : 12th February 2008 at 03:11.
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Old 12th February 2008, 03:13   #12
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Freedom ought to have been given to the person when he deserved it. I pity him,35 years of his life just wiped away- thanks to whoever is responsible.
I wonder if he'll be accepted by his family members,due to his mental instability. Thats of course,his family gets traced.
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Old 12th February 2008, 03:23   #13
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This story reminds me of my maternal uncle who was an airforce pilot. In 1971, 3 planes went to Pakistan to drop bombs and his plane was one of them. Only 2 planes returned. It is believed that he was taken as a POW and might be still there. His sister still ties rakhi to the bed on which he used to sleep.
There are many more such people. Most of them were sikhs and are still languishing in those jails. Considering the treatment that was given to Captain Kalia during Kargil war, you can expect anything from the Pakistani army.
Long live people like Ansar Burney but I wish that some thing could have been done much earlier.
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Old 12th February 2008, 03:24   #14
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Originally Posted by Nitin View Post
Freedom ought to have been given to the person when he deserved it. I pity him,35 years of his life just wiped away- thanks to whoever is responsible.
I wonder if he'll be accepted by his family members,due to his mental instability. Thats of course,his family gets traced.
Yes tricky one whether his family will accept ihim but at least he will be a free man and out the cell.

The family should be traceable.

Shame the press in India have consigned the story to the small columns. Makes the front page / main columns of Pakistani and even Arab newspapers but our own editors are more concerned about Raj Thackery, Inflation in the USA and Yahoo. Where are peoples priorities ? Dimwits or what.
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Old 12th February 2008, 03:28   #15
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Originally Posted by Sush View Post
This story reminds me of my maternal uncle who was an airforce pilot. In 1971, 3 planes went to Pakistan to drop bombs and his plane was one of them. Only 2 planes returned. It is believed that he was taken as a POW and might be still there. His sister still ties rakhi to the bed on which he used to sleep.
There are many more such people. Most of them were sikhs and are still languishing in those jails. Considering the treatment that was given to Captain Kalia during Kargil war, you can expect anything from the Pakistani army.
Long live people like Ansar Burney but I wish that some thing could have been done much earlier.
Sorry to hear about your uncle. If you want I can PM you Ansar Burneys contact details.

Not sure if he will be able to find anything out but he is an honest upright man and will not give you false hope.
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