Pak army court sentences Indian 'spy' Kulbhushan Jadhav to death

It will amount to premeditated murder if norms disregarded before acting on sentence: Foreign secy
Report by: 
Agencies
Islamabad/New Delhi
10 Apr 2017

Pakistan's powerful Army Chief today approved the execution of alleged Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav after a military court found him guilty of "involvement in espionage and sabotage activities" against the country, a development that could further strain the India-Pakistan ties.

Reacting strongly to the development, India today said it will regard as "premeditated murder" if Pakistan carries out the death sentence, awarded to its national Kulbhushan Jadhav "without observing basic norms of law and justice". Foreign secretary S Jaishankar summoned Pakistan High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit and gave a strongly-worded demarche, which said the proceedings that have led to the sentence against Jadhav were "farcical" as there were no "credible evidence" against him. Reacting to a press release by Pakistan military's media wing Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) on Jadhav, India said he was kidnapped last year from Iran and his subsequent presence in Pakistan has never been explained credibly.

India, through its High Commission in Islamabad, has repeatedly sought consular access to him, as provided for by international law and 13 such requests were formally made between 25 March 2016 and 31 March 2017, the demarche said. "This was not permitted by the Pakistani authorities," it said. The proceedings that have led to the sentence against Jadhav are "farcical in the absence of any credible evidence" against him, it said, adding it is significant that Indian High Commission was not even informed that Jadhav was being brought to trial.
"Senior Pakistani figures have themselves cast doubt about the adequacy of evidence. The claim in the ISPR release that Jadhav was provided with a defending officer during the so-called trial is clearly absurd in the circumstances. "If this sentence against an Indian citizen, awarded without observing basic norms of law and justice, is carried out, the government and people of India will regard it as a case of premeditated murder," the foreign secretary said in the demarche.

India has acknowledged that Jadhav served with the navy but denied he has any connection with the government. The death sentence to Jadhav, 46, was confirmed by Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa after the Field General Court Martial (FGCM) found him guilty of "all the charges", said the military's media wing Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR). "The spy has been tried through Field General Court Martial under Pakistan Army Act and awarded death sentence," it said and added that the FGCM found Jadhav "guilty of all the charges." According to the ISPR statement, Jadhav, a Commander in the Indian Navy, "confessed" before a Magistrate and the court that he was "tasked by RAW to plan, coordinate and organise espionage/sabotage activities aiming to destabilise and wage war against Pakistan by impeding the efforts of Law Enforcement Agencies for restoring peace in Balochistan and Karachi." The Pakistan Army had released a "confessional video" of Jadhav after his arrest. The ISPR statement, said Jadhav, alias Hussein Mubarak Patel, was "provided with defending officer as per legal provisions". Pakistan Army's decision today is expected to further strain the ties between India and Pakistan.

The two countries have been at loggerheads over several issues, including on Pakistan's support to terrorism, since the terror attack on an Indian army base in Uri in Kashmir in September last year by Pakistan-based militants killed 18 Indian soldiers. Ten days later, India launched "surgical strikes" against militant "launchpads" in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. (PTI)