New Delhi: In a setback to Kargil War hero Lt Saurabh Kalia's family, who want India to take up his alleged death-by-torture in 1999 with Pakistan, sources on Wednesday said that while the government sympathises with the family, the case to drag Pakistan to an international body is a non-starter.
India is not a member of the International Criminal Court and therefore does not recognise its jurisdiction, the sources said. Even if India does move the court, going by precedents, it is most likely that the court will throw out the case if Pakistan does not agree to become a party.
For the record, Pakistan has denied its Army tortured the officer and Indian jawans. Sources said that moving the United Nations could prove counter productive as Pakistan can raise India's human rights record on Kashmir.
The family of Lt Kalia moved the Supreme Court and vowed to keep on fighting till justice was done. It's been 13 years since Lt Kalia's body was found mutilated and bearing torture marks after he was captured during the war.
The family wants India to move the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against Pakistan, something the government had promised to do but failed to take up for 13 longs years. Left with no other resort, Lt Kalia's family has taken its battle to the country's highest court.
The government of India is expected to watch the proceedings in the Supreme Court and reach out to the Lieutenant's family. India may take up the case with Pakistan afresh during routine bilateral consultations.
Meanwhile, the Kargil hero's family has also demand action against Pakistan for violating Geneva Convention. They also want prosecution of the then Pakistani Army chief General Pervez Musharraf for war crimes.
Lt Saurabh Kalia belonged to the 4 Jat Regiment and was the first Indian Army officer to observe and report large-scale intrusion of Pakistani Army and foreign mercenaries on the Indian side of LoC in Kargil. Lt Kalia and his men were captured on May 15, 1999 and were in captivity for over 22 days. Lt Kalia's body was later handed over to the Indian authorities on June 9, 1999.
Meanwhile, Pakistani Defence Analyst retired Brigadier Shaukat Qadir said that justice must be done if the facts are verified. "We in Pakistan are not aware of this having happened. If the facts are correct then one thing seems peculiar which is that if the Pakistan soldiers have tortured him why should they hand the body back? Having said that, if these facts are indeed correct then I think that they are well within their rights to seek some kind of justice and go wherever they want to seek whatever justice. If this is true then the Pakistan authorities must apologise and they must seek an apology - they are well within their rights to do so."
It is very important to underscore at this point, while Lt Saurabh Kalia and other captured Indian soldiers met a violent death after repeatedly being tortured in Pakistan, the Indian army gave Pakistan's soldiers a funeral with full military honours. Islamabad though had claimed those were bodies of insurgents and not its soldiers.