AMRITSAR: The recent capture of an Indian Air Force Wing Commander and his subsequent safe repatriation to India by the Pakistan government has rekindled the hopes of Baljinder Kaur, daughter of Constable Balwinder Singh of the 10 Sikh Regiment.
During a powerful and heart wrenching interview with Sikh Channel, Baljinder Kaur details how she is striving to trace her father who is believed to have been captured during the Indo-Pakistani war of 1971 and held as a prisoner of war ever since.
“My father was such a brave soldier that till date his regiment sings ballads of his bravery, my heart says that he is still alive and in one of Pakistan’s jail,” said Baljinder Kaur.
Baljinder Kaur was born two and half months after her father was captured by Pakistan in 1971. She recalls that her mother, Harbans Kaur had heard her father’s voice on Pakistan radio upon which he had identified himself as Balwinder Singh, a resident of Chamba Kalan village in Tarn Taran. Despite evidence to the contrary, the Indian army shows Constable Balwinder Singh as ‘killed in action’ on December 16, 1971.
Former Indian spy Satish Kumar of Ferozepur, who was released by Pakistan after completing his jail sentence has stated that Balwinder Singh was alive when he was in Kot Lakhpat jail and had not died. He said he and Balwinder Singh were together in Kot Lakhpat jail from July 19, 1974, to end of 1976 after which he was transferred to Mian Wali jail.
During the Bhog of Sarabjit Singh who was killed in Kot Lakhpat jail, many former prisoners in Pakistan’s Kot Lakhpat jail had confirmed to Baljinder Kaur and her mother that Balwinder Singh was alive and at the jail.
Satish Kumar states that in addition to Balwinder Singh, approximately 150 Indian soldiers were held in Pakistani jails and many of them had become mentally unsound due to torture.
Baljinder Kaur has been writing letters addressed to jail superintendents of Kot Lakhpat as well as Qila Attock jail but has never received a response. The recent prisoner release gesture by the Pakistani government has encouraged Baljinder Kaur to continue her efforts to find her father.