Indian families find no PoW in Lahore jail

By Xinhua

Islamabad : The families of Indian Prisoners of War (PoW), in Pakistan to seek details about their missing relatives, visited the central jail in Lahore but did not find any prisoner, jail officials said.

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The Indian families say that some 54 Indian Army men have been missing in Pakistan since 1971, when the two countries fought one of their three wars. They believe that Indian PoWs are in Pakistani jails. But Pakistan says there is no Indian PoW in the country.

The 14-member delegation met some 39 Indian prisoners in the Lahore central jail but no PoW was among them. They were also shown the jail records.

There were over 100,000 soldiers made prisoner on both sides in the 1971 war. Since then Islamabad and New Delhi have quarrelled constantly over the "forgotten prisoners of war".

The last time a group of Indians visited Pakistan was in 1982. It was allowed access to only one jail.

The group currently in Pakistan will spend two weeks there and is expected to visit jails in every major city, including Karachi and Faisalabad.

Last year, Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf gave an open invitation to the families of the 54 missing PoWs to come and visit Pakistan's jails.

The agreement for the visit was reached at a meeting between India's External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee and President Musharraf in Islamabad in January.