Shadow of a death sentence on Indo-Pak ties
A Pakistani military court has sentenced a former Indian navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav to death for espionage and sabotage in Pakistan. India has denied that Jadhav was a spy and has dismissed the Pakistan court’s proceedings as farcical. India has also said that if the death sentence were carried out, it would amount to premeditated murder. Repeated requests of India for consular access to Jadhav were denied by Pakistan. Pakistan’s version of events is very different from India’s claims. Pakistan has claimed that Kulbhushan Jadhav was responsible for espionage, sabotage and terrorism in Pakistan and that he had been tried according to the law of the land in a fully transparent manner while preserving his rights under the Constitution of Pakistan. Pakistan has killed alleged Indian spies previously as well. In 1999, an alleged Indian spy was hanged and in 2013, an Indian citizen was jailed for sixteen years, convicted of sabotage and terrorism who was killed by his fellow inmates even while efforts were on to bring him back to India.
1.Spy Claim and its Credibility:
It has been confirmed by Iran’s Ambassador to Pakistan that the former Indian naval officer was kidnapped from Iran. Taliban terrorist groups abducted Jadhav from Chabahar and sold it to Pakistan. Pakistan itself has said that they did not apprehend the officer from Pakistan. The statement given by Sartaj Aziz, Foreign Affairs Advisor to Pakistan’s Prime Minister also seems to be absurd. No evidence has been provided by him which could prove that Kulbhushan Jadhav was involved in terrorism in Pakistan.
2.Sequence of events:
According to Sartaj Aziz, Jadhav was arrested by Pakistan in early March 2016, the first confessional video of him was made on 25th March after which an FIR was launched on 8th April and the interrogation was done on 2nd May 2016. Therefore, without any judicial proceedings, the officer was kept and tortured for two months. As per the statement, Pakistan approached India in January 2017 for ‘letter of assistance’ to find credible evidence against Jadhav and three proceedings of the trial were already finished by November 2016. It is evident that proceedings were being carried out without sufficient evidence before January 2017 in the military court of Pakistan. Therefore, this timeline of events given by Sartaj Aziz can be outrightly rejected by the world community.
3.Issue of Two Identities:
As per Pakistan’s claims, Kulbhushan Jadhav was found with the possession of two passports one as a Hindu and the other one as a Muslim. There is a strong possibility of the fact that Pakistan created another passport in order to justify its claims. It is quite obvious that Indian intelligence agencies are not so unwise that they will provide their agents with an Indian passport to send them across to a hostile territory without a diplomatic immunity.
4.Providing India with a Consular Access to Jadhav:
India has repeatedly issued a demarche to Pakistan to provide a consular access of Jadhav to India. India in the past have busted many terrorist modules and have found them possessing fake Indian passports. Therefore, Pakistan is unwilling to provide India a consular access to Jadhav as India may bust the claim of the officer possessing an original Indian passport. Hence, any conventional diplomatic channel to get justice for the former officer is quite unlikely to fetch results.
As per the provision under the optional protocol to Vienna Convention on Consular relations concerning compulsory settlement of disputes, both India (1976) and Pakistan (1977) are signatory to it. This has been used by various countries in the past if there is a death sentence awarded to their citizens by a foreign country. Whether India would be willing to look into the opportunities provided by this provision to secure the release of former Indian naval officer has to be seen.
Seeking the interference of International Court of Justice is not an option for India because India does not recognize its jurisdiction in matters related to India and Pakistan.
There is a possibility of this agreement between India and Pakistan. It is expected that Pakistan might try to make India pay a high price for this by pushing it to resume talks on Kashmir issue which were affected after Pakistan’s recent proliferation of terrorism on Indian soil in last one year.
It has been accepted on world platform that Pakistan is the epicentre of terrorism in India for almost three decades now. Pakistan is using this case to create a moral equivalence and put India into bad light in its objective to wipe out its own citizens of Balochistan and Sindh provinces who want to gain independence from Pakistan’s misrule. India has to deal with this very firmly.