New Delhi/Islamabad, April 11 (newsin.asia): Indians are livid with Pakistan for giving the death sentence to an alleged Indian spy, who the Indians say, was an innocent businessman kidnapped by Pakistani agents in Iran and shown as a spy in Karachi.
Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj on Tuesday told parliament that India will go “out of the way” to save former navy officer Com. Kulbhushan Jadhav from the gallows.
The alleged Indian spy was awarded the death sentence on Monday after being tried by the Field General Court Martial (FGCM) under the Pakistan Army Act (PAA).
Addressing Jadhav as “a son of India”, Swaraj warned the Pakistani government “to consider the consequences for our bilateral relationship if they proceed on this matter,” Hindustan Times quoted the Indian external affairs minister as saying before the Parliament.
“Charges against Jadhav are concocted,” she added. “There is no evidence of wrong-doing by him.”
Further addressing the Parliament on Tuesday, Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh said: “We [the Indian government] will do everything possible to get justice.”
A member of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday said New Delhi should support Balochistan’s separation if Kulbushan Jadhav is executed.
“If Pakistan hangs Yadav then India must recognise Balochistan as an independent country,” BJP MP Subramanian Swamy tweeted.
The ultra-right Hindu politician went on to say, “And after Jadhav, if Pakistan does another atrocity, Sindh will be seceded out of Pakistan.”
India summoned Pakistan’s High Commissioner to New Delhi Abdul Basit and handed over a demarche saying: “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 India’s Ministry of External Affairs in its statement claimed that “the proceedings that led to the sentence against Jadhav are farcical in the absence of any credible evidence against him”.
The Indian authorities further claimed that they had repeatedly sought consular access to Jadhav. “Requests to that effect were formally made 13 times between March 25, 2016, and March 31, 2017. This was not permitted by the Pakistani authorities,” the demarche says.
Pakistan had, however, turned down India’s request seeking consular access to Jadhav last year due to his involvement in “subversive activities” in Pakistan.
According to Dawn Pakisrani Experts view the military’s announcement about Jadhav’s trial and prosecution as an unprecedented move, viewing it as a strong message to India as well as other foreign intelligence agencies.
Jadhav was tried by the FGCM under Section 59 of the PAA and Section 3 of the official Secret Act of 1923, the statement said.
He allegedly confessed before a magistrate and court that he was tasked by Indian spy agency Research and Analysis (RAW) to plan, coordinate and organize espionage and sabotage activities seeking to destabilize and wage war against Pakistan through impeding the efforts of law enforcement agencies for the restoration of peace in Balochistan and Karachi, the ISPR said.
Terming the Indian spy’s arrest a ‘big achievement’, Inter Services Public Relations Chief Lt.Gen.Asim Bajwa said at the time that Jadhav was directly handled by the RAW chief, the Indian National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and the RAW Joint Secretary.
“His goal was to disrupt development of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), with Gwadar port as a special target,” Bajwa had said, adding, “This is nothing short of state-sponsored terrorism… There can be no clearer evidence of Indian interference in Pakistan.”
“If an intelligence or an armed forces officer of this rank is arrested in another country, it is a big achievement,” Bajwa had said, before going on to play a video of Jadhav confessing to Indian intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) involvement in Balochistan separatist activities in Pakistan.
Jadhav has got 40 days to file an appeal against the FGCM in the army’s court of appeal, according to retired Col Inamur Rahim, a military law expert.
In case the appeal court upholds the FGCM verdict, Jadhav would have the opportunity to seek mercy from the army chief and the president of Pakistan.
Simultaneously, Col Inam said, the convict could approach a high court if he felt that due process was not observed during his trial and his fundamental rights as an accused were not fulfilled.
Leading Indian journalist Suhasini Haidar raised the question of how the sentencing may affect Pak-India ties and suggested spy swapping to solve such problems.
“With India-Pakistan relations at their lowest, wonder if diplomacy can work. Even US-Russia were able to conduct spy swaps during cold war,” she said.
But Sartaj Aziz, the Pakistan Prime Minister’s Foreign Affairs Advisor said that Jadhav will not be extradited.
(Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj speaks in parliament on Kulbhushan Jadhav)