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Missing Persons Of Pakistan: How Pakistani Nationals Died In JIC Custody?

Upar Di Gur Gur Di Annexe Di Bedhiyana Di Moong Di Daal Of Di Pakistan And Hindustan Of Di Durr Phitey Munh

Photo credit: BBC Urdu.

Five people, alleged to be Pakistani nationals, have died in the past three months at a detention center in Bhoj, a town in Gujarat’s Kachh district. Khalid died on January 13, the last of five deaths. Whether their families have been notified of their deaths or not is rather unclear.

Before Khalid’s death, Karim, 60, died on January 11, 2021. He has been in JIC custody since 2013. Javed, 32, died on December 1, 2020. Munir, 45, died on November 19, 2020. He had been in JIC custody since 2014. Pervez, 50, died on November 4, 2020. He was detained at some border in 2016. JIC officials claim that a detainee named Munir had code-19. According to officials, all five had difficulty breathing.

Dr. Talwani had long been treating Khalid and other alleged Pakistanis in Joint Interrogation Center (JIC) custody. He says he knew Khalid well. The names of prisoners have been intimidated to avoid frustration. Indian officials claim that all five were mentally unstable when they were taken into custody all were very close to the India-Pakistan international border.

The plight of these Pakistani lunatics turned prisoners on the Indian side of the border sounds very much similar to that of the Bishen Singh who was a character of Sadat Hassan Manto’s short story ‘Toba Tek Singh’. Bishen Singh was mentally unfit and had one daughter who used to shed tears seeing the sorry state of her father whenever she visited him unless she went to the other side of the border.

Bishen Singh had been committed for fifteen years. It’s rumored among the wardens that in all these years, he’d not slept, not even laid down for a single moment. Occasionally, he used to rest against the wall that caused the swallowing in his feet and legs.

Whenever a discussion about India and Pakistan and the exchange of lunatics began in the asylum, Bishen Singh used to listen with keen interest. If so ever he got a chance to comment on the matter, he gravely uttered these words: “Opadh di gudh gudh di annexe di bedhayana di mung di dal of the Pakistani government“.

Bishen Singh had been clueless about the location of Toba Tek Singh throughout the years that he spent in asylum and breathed his last standing somewhere in between the border of India and Pakistan. He alongside other inmates was not able to understand the post-partition border differences.

Khalid was also undergoing treatment, but it was not clear what mental illness he was suffering from. He died on January 13 at a hospital in Bhoj. He was detained in some border areas in 2009 and according to sources and media reports, he was a resident of the Badin area of ​​Sindh province in Pakistan, just a few kilometers from the international border.

A list of Pakistani nationals imprisoned in India was submitted to the Government of Pakistan in January 2019. According to the list, there are 249 Pakistani nationals in Indian jails and 537 Indian nationals in Pakistani jails. 

Authorities also say that all of them died of natural causes or died from the same diseases they were suffering from before their arrest. The concerning news agency, however, could not independently verify that claim by authorities.

The detention center is under the jurisdiction of District Kachh KSP Sourabh Singh. “These were prisoners who were detained by the BSF (Border Security Force) from various places on the border, who came very close to the border or they were probably trying to cross the border,” he said. These people were caught 10 to 12 years ago.

The bodies of three of them have been placed in a morgue in Jamnagar, Gujarat, 250 km from the detention center. Although Indian officials say the body of a man named Pervez has been sent back to Pakistan. No confirmation has been done from the Pakistani side as yet.

Indian authorities have refused to divulge information about their whereabouts. Reportedly, the Pakistani government had been informed about his death but the Pakistani embassy in India and the Foreign Office in Islamabad had not responded.

In such a case, if the address or identity of a person is not known, the Indian government will bury the body in India if the body is not accepted by the Pakistani government. In a similar case in October 2019, another mentally ill and disabled Pakistani man died in the same detention center. According to the Indian Home Minister, Pakistan could not confirm his citizenship and refused to accept his body. So he was buried with religious rites in a cemetery in Bhoj itself.

A list of Pakistani nationals imprisoned in India was submitted to the Government of Pakistan in January 2019. According to the list, there are 249 Pakistani nationals in Indian jails and 537 Indian nationals in Pakistani jails. The list, obtained by Aghaz-e-Dosti, an organization working for better relations between India and Pakistan, shows that most of them were fishermen detained by the navies of both the countries near Gujarat and Sindh.

Although it is common for fishermen from both countries to be arrested in the disputed Sir Creek region off the coast of Gujarat and Sindh, the five dead were detained along the land border between Gujarat and Sindh.

AK Jadeja, a former inspector general of the Border Ranger in Gujarat, said smuggling was common on the India-Pakistan international border.

The region near the India-Pakistan border, especially the area within the Indian border, is very difficult to navigate and its expansion and water scarcity usually mislead the common man, leading to the risk of losing direction. But if a person is mentally unstable, the risk is even greater.

More than 100 such persons who entered India by mistake or illegally crossing the border or using wrong papers are detained in JIC. According to various officials, about 20 of them are allegedly Pakistanis and at least eight are mentally ill.

Citizens of several other countries are also in JIC custody. About 22 agencies make inquiries in JIC. And based on a similar investigation, Indian authorities have claimed that the five dead were Pakistani nationals and were mentally unstable.

Most of India’s border with Pakistan is under the control of the Border Security Force (BSF). Its intelligence wing uses technology to detect land border crossings. Then an attempt is made to find and catch them.

But it is not easy for a person to prove a foreigner or his citizenship within the Indian border. If such a person does not have an ID card, the security forces and intelligence agencies use other methods which do not necessarily lead to a completely certain result. For example, security personnel show them currency notes from different countries to identify those arrested at the border.

Inspector Gulab Singh Jadeja was the head of JIC for 15 years before retiring last year. “You can’t identify anyone but you can identify the currency,” he said about the plight of the mentally ill or disabled. We have all the currencies (in front of them). Secondly, we also place (different) national flags in front of them. Sometimes they point it out. ”

“The direction of arrival of the arrested person also helps the security personnel to identify their nationality,” adds Jadeja. There are pigeons at the border, looking for footprints to see where this person came from. The language translator tells you which community it is from. In addition to being investigated by various agencies, psychologists are consulted to confirm that they are mentally unstable or are spies. The same thing was done with the dead after they were taken into custody.

According to Dr. Talwani, there is a simple protocol for this. The detective will behave inconsistently abnormally and the real patient will behave consistently abnormally. A normal person will behave well and it will be like a sensible person. And the sick person will have a dull expression and the expression of a normal person will expose him.

A former Indian police official has pointed out an unusual method sometimes used to identify spies or verify those who have lost their mental balance. “There’s so much in medical science that they’ll give you a pill. If you’re crazy, you’ll be silent,” he said. If you don’t go crazy, your stomach will get upset, you will vomit, you will know that you are acting.

Several members of the JIC told the news agency that they had lost their ability to think before they were arrested and were in a situation where they did not even know their physical needs.

JIC organizers and other related officials, however, declined to comment on what exactly caused the deaths. He claims that all the policemen and prisoners in JIC live together and in the case of the corona, all are affected.

Officials rejected the BBC’s request to inspect the detention center, saying no one was allowed to enter. He said that even taking photos at the retirement ceremony of an official there is forbidden. Five deaths in a short period of time raise many questions.

Only a cordial exchange of lunatics across the hostile border of Pakistan and India can save the likes of Bishen Singh who end in dismay. Lunatics are somewhere away from the debates of religion, national borders, as well as relationships. Kindness and fair-treatment are perhaps the only good things that one can give to these insane people. Rest all is savagery.

About Noshin Bashir

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