The missing 54

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Missing 54 are the soldiers and officers of Indian armed forces who have been given status of missing in action or killed in action in 1971 Indo-Pak war by government. But they are believed to be alive and imprisoned in various Pakistani jails though Pakistan have denied existence of any Indian POW's of 1971 Indo-Pak war; there is strong evidence to suggest that they were captured alive and some or all of them still languish in Pakistani jails.


During the war, the fifth battalion of the Assam Regiment was deployed as part of 191 Infantry Brigade on the west of Munnawar Tawi River in the Chambb region. 10 Infantry Division on the Indian side faced 23 Division on the Pakistani side. 5 Sikh were at Chhamb and were in the middle of the brigade group with 5 Assam and 4/1 Gorkha Rifles on either side. On 4 December, Pakistani artillery and PAF were in action in the areas of 5 Sikh and 5 Assam, the Pakistani infantry supported by armour captured Mandiala North after fighting. On 5 December, 2 tanks of Deccan Horse and a platoon of 5 Sikh recaptured the Mandiala Bridge. These three battalions were subjected to intense shelling and repeated PAF attacks. During this battle, Major Ashok Suri went missing.

The Pakistan government invited family members to Pakistan to identify, if found, its missing defence personnel in November 1982 when India and Pakistan signed a protocol on exchange of prisoners when Zia Ul Haque visited India. On May 30, 1983, Narasimha Rao said that he would take up at the highest level the visit of the parents of missing defence personnel to Pakistan. A delegation of six next-of-kins were allowed to go, it was made very clear that this was a classified visit that the press were not invited to. The families left on September 12, 1983, Monday to visit Lahore. This was the first time the Indians had got consular access after 1971. The families got to know that some officials of the MEA will also be going with them to Multan jail. Indira Gandhi was making aggressive statements in favour of Khan Abdul Gafar Khan and the MQM movement which was irritating Pakistan. On Sept 14th they flew to Multan, India was supposed to grant Pakistani officials reciprocal access to 25 Pakistani prisoners at Patiala jail which did not happen. The news came in Pakistani papers that "India goes back on its words". On Sept 15, 1983, the families visited Multan jail.

On the Eastern front where there were 93,007 POWs (of which 72,795 were soldiers), an agreement was signed by the Foreign Ministers of India, Bangladesh and Pakistan on 30 April 1974 at New Delhi. Thereafter the Pakistani POWs captured on the Eastern front were also repatriated.


  • Flight Lt. Vijay Vasant Tambay was falsely stated in a paper report on 5th December but Tambay went missing on 6th December.
  • Major Ghosh's photograph published in Time Magazine on 27th December 1971. The photograph was proof that Major Ghosh was in Pakistani custody when the war ended on 17 December 1971. He did not return with the POWs in 1972 at the time of the Simla agreement. He may have died in the Pakistani jail.
  • The Attock Conspiracy, several officers of Pakistan's army and air force were arrested on March 30, 1973, on charges of conspiring to overthrow the government of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. The detainees included Major Farooq Adam, Major Nadir Pervez (who later became a federal minister in the Nawaz Sharif government), Brigadier Wajid Ali Shah, Colonel Hamdani, and Major Ayaz Sipra, and a total of 59 officers were declared conspirators. Fifteen army and four air-force officers were found guilty of conspiracy and were handed jail terms ranging from three months to life.

A Pakistani General, General Riaz, Governor NWFP who subsequently died in an accident informed Mr Ashwini Kumar, then IG of the Border Security Force as a personal favour to him at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich that Major Waraich was being held in Dargai jail, NWFP.

Named officers[edit]

Indian Army[edit]

Second lieutenants
  • Sub. Assa Singh - JC-41339 (5 Sikh)
  • Sub. Kalidas - JC-598 (Jakli)
Lance Naik

Indian Air Force[edit]

Wing commander
Squadron leader
Flight lieutenant
Flying Officers & Pilot Officers

Indian Navy[edit]

This list was tabled in the Lok Sabha in 1979 by Samarendra Kundu, Minister of State of External Affairs, in reply to a question raised by Amarsingh Pathawa.

External links[edit]