Proposal made to swap Kulbhushan Jadhav for terrorist: Pakistan Foreign Minister

The terrorist is the one who carried out the 2014 Peshawar school attack that killed nearly 150 people, mostly school children, and is now jailed in Afghanistan, says Khwaja Muhammad Asif.

Updated - September 28, 2017 06:04 pm IST

Published - September 28, 2017 08:36 am IST - New York

In this March, 2016 picture, Pakistani journalists watch a video showing India’s Kulbhushan Jadhav, arrested on suspicion of spying, during a press conference in Islamabad.

In this March, 2016 picture, Pakistani journalists watch a video showing India’s Kulbhushan Jadhav, arrested on suspicion of spying, during a press conference in Islamabad.

Pakistan received a proposal to swap Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav for a terrorist who carried out the horrific 2014 Peshawar school attack and is now jailed in Afghanistan, Foreign Minister Khwaja Muhammad Asif has claimed.

Mr. Asif, however, did not specify the name of the terrorist and the National Security Advisor who made the proposal.

“The terrorist who killed children in APS [Army Public School] in Peshawar is in Afghan custody. The National Security Adviser [NSA] told me that we can exchange that terrorist with the terrorist you have, which is Kulbhushan Jadhav,” Mr. Asif said at the Asia Society in New York on Wednesday.

He discussed Pakistan’s vision for and approach towards regional peace and development during his conversion with author and journalist Steve Coll.

Mr. Asif said Pakistan had suffered grievously from conflict and instability in Afghanistan.

'Situation in Afghanistan getting worse'

“Unless this cycle is reversed, we would continue to bear the brunt. No country, therefore, has a larger stake in seeing peace and stability return to Afghanistan than Pakistan. Regrettably, the situation in Afghanistan is getting worse,” he said.

Mr. Jadhav, a 46-year-old retired Indian Navy officer, was sentenced to death by Pakistan’s Field General Court Martial in April for his alleged “involvement in espionage and sabotage activities” against Pakistan.

Mr. Asif said there was no military solution to Afghanistan. Pakistan had done all it could to facilitate a political settlement.

“We have also done all that we could to make sure that the Pakistani soil is not used against any country,” he claimed.

“However, there are obviously clear limits to what we can do. We cannot take responsibility for Afghanistan’s peace and security and be asked to achieve what the combined strength of some of the most powerful and richest countries could not accomplish,” he said.

India has accused Pakistan of violating the Vienna Convention by repeatedly denying consular access to Mr. Jadhav.

In a hearing of the case on May 18, a 10-member bench of the Inyernational Court of Justice (ICJ) restrained Pakistan from executing Mr. Jadhav.

Pakistan has said the Indian national would not be executed until he has exhausted his mercy appeals.

The Pakistan Taliban had claimed responsibility for the gruesome Peshawar school attack in 2014 in which nearly 150 people, mostly school children, were killed.

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