India believe 74 missing defence personnel in Pak custody

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New Delhi, Mar 10 (ANI): The Union Government on Wednesday said that 74 missing defence personnel languishing in Pakistani jail.

Replying to questions in the Lok Sabha, External Affairs Minister S M Krishna said: "According to available information, 74 missing defence personnel are believed to be in Pakistani jails."

He also informed that these 74 also included 54 personnel who were missing since the 1971 Indo- Pak War.

"Government has repeatedly taken up the matter with the Government of Pakistan through diplomatic channels and during high-level contacts for their release," Krishna asserted.

However, Pakistan does not acknowledge the presence of any missing defence personnel in its custody, he added.

He informed that House that in January 2007, during the then External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee's visit to Pakistan, the Government of Pakistan was persuaded to receive a delegation of relatives of missing defence personnel to permit them to visit prisons in Pakistan, where they are believed to be incarcerated.

"A delegation of relatives, accordingly, visited 10 jails in Pakistan from June 1-14, 2007. The delegation could not conclusively confirm the physical presence of the 74 missing defence personnel," Krishna said.

Pursuant to the visit of the delegation of the relatives of missing defence personnel, a Tri-Service Committee for monitoring matters on the subject has been formed in the Defence Ministry, Krishna said.

Under the Simla Agreement, the Government is committed to resolving all issues with Pakistan through peaceful negotiations and bilateral dialogue. (ANI)

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