Indian envoy meets Pak foreign secy, seeks copy of charge sheet, verdict

Death sentence based on credible evidence, says Islamabad
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Agencies
Islamabad/New Delhi
14 Apr 2017

India today demanded from Pakistan a certified copy of the charge sheet as well as the judgement in the death sentence of its national Kulbhushan Jadhav and sought consular access to him.

Indian High Commissioner in Islamabad Gautam Bambawale met Pakistan foreign secretary Tehmina Janjua in connection with the case of Jadhav, who has been given death sentence by a Pakistani military court for alleged spying. "I have asked for a certified copy of the charge-sheet as well as the judgement in the death sentence of Kulbhushan Jadhav," Bambawale told news agency PTI.
"They have denied our request for consular access 13 times (in the last one year). I have again requested the Pakistan foreign secretary to give access to Jadhav so that we can appeal," he said. Sources in New Delhi said apart from diplomatic options, India will also explore legal remedies permitted under Pakistan legal system including Jadhav's family appealing against the verdict.

Pakistan's top Military Generals had on Thursday decided not to make any "compromise" on the death sentence given to Jadhav. The decision was made at a Corps Commanders' conference presided over by Army Chief General Qamar Bajwa at the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi. The death sentence to Jadhav, 46, was confirmed by Army Chief General Bajwa after the Field General Court Martial found him guilty of "espionage and sabotage activities" in Pakistan. Pakistan claims its security forces had arrested Jadhav from the restive Balochistan province on March 3 last year after he reportedly entered from Iran. It also claimed that he was "a serving officer in the Indian Navy."

The Pakistan Army had also released a "confessional video" of Jadhav after his arrest. India had acknowledged that Jadhav had served with the navy but denied that he has any connection with the government. External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj had warned that Jadhav's execution will be taken by India as a "pre-meditated murder" and Pakistan should "consider its consequences" on bilateral relations, if it proceeds on this matter. However, Pakistan today said the death sentence to Jadhav was based on "credible" and "specific" evidence that prove his involvement in spying and terror activities and asserted that more active diplomacy is needed to arrest the "growing crises" in the Indo-Pak ties. Pakistan Prime Minister's advisor on foreign affairs Sartaj Aziz said that due process of law was followed in the trial of 46-year-old Jadhav. Aziz in a detailed statement read out to the media at the foreign office said that India through its reaction was aggravating the situation.

Rejecting Indian accusation of unfair trail, Aziz said that the first FIR against was lodged on April 8, 2016 by police's Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) in Quetta, the capital of Balochistan. The minister said detailed trail was held and all relevant laws including Evidence Act and recording of statement before a magistrate were followed. Jadhav was also provided legal assistance. "Kulbushan Jhadav, who is responsible for espionage, sabotage and terrorism in Pakistan, has been tried according to the law of the land, in a fully transparent manner while preserving his rights, as per the Constitution of Pakistan," the minister said and added: "His sentence is based on credible, specific evidence proving his involvement in espionage and terrorist activities in Pakistan."

Criticising India, Aziz went on to say: "I would like to ask India why Kulbhushan Jhadav was using a fake identity impersonating as a Muslim? Why would an innocent man possess two passports, one with a Hindu name and another with a Muslim name? Since India has no credible explanation about why their serving Naval Commander was in Balochistan, it has unleashed a flimsy propaganda campaign. Inflammatory statements and rhetoric about 'pre-meditated murder' and 'unrest in Balochistan' will only result in escalation, serving no useful purpose," the Pakistan minister warned.