Kulbhushan Jadhav: the story so far

India to appeal against Jadhav’s death sentence, seeks consular access again

Ex-servicemen protest outside Pakistan High Commission, demanding release of former Indian naval commander Kulbhushan Jadhav. in New Delhi.  

India on Friday sought consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav, the retired Navy officer who has been sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of spying, and demanded a certified copy of the charge sheet as well as the judgment.

“We have stated that he [Mr. Jadhav] is an Indian national and as per international law and humanitarian considerations, let us at least have consular access to him,” Gautam Bambawale, Indian High Commissioner in Islamabad, told reporters here after a meeting with Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua.

Verdict copy demanded

“We would definitely go in appeal against the judgment but we cannot do it unless we have the details of the charges and the copy of the verdict. So, my first demand was to provide us the details of the charge sheet and the copy of the verdict,” he said.

Pakistan, he said, has so far denied 13 times India’s request for consular access.

After Mr. Bambawale’s meeting with the Foreign Secretary, Pakistan defended the trial of Mr. Jadhav and said he could appeal against the verdict.

“Due process has been followed while proceeding against him. All further action in this regard shall also be taken in accordance with our laws,” Sartaj Aziz, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs, told reporters at the Foreign Office here.

Mr. Jadhav can appeal within 40 days to an appellate court, or may lodge a mercy petition to the Army Chief within 60 days of the decision by the appellate court.

If the Army Chief rejects the plea, he can file another with the President in 90 days, Mr. Aziz added.

Defending Pakistan’s position on consular access, he said India had not provided the facility to many Pakistani prisoners in the past despite repeated requests.

“We expect India to behave responsibly and refrain from issuing statements that will further aggravate people-to-people hostility.”

“More active diplomacy is therefore needed to arrest the growing crises in India-Pakistan relations before it becomes even more serious,” said Mr. Aziz.

He said Mr. Jadhav was arrested on March 3, 2016 when he was operating under a pseudonym Mubarak Patel.

“Kulbhushan Jadhav was found in possession of a passport issued by the Government of India on May 12, 2015 and valid until May 11, 2024. Jadhav confessed that he is a resident of Mumbai, India, still serving in the Indian Navy and his retirement is due in 2022.”

According to Mr. Aziz, Mr. Jadhav was tried by Field General Court Martial under section 59 of the Pakistan Army Act 1952 and Section 3 of Official Secret Act of 1923 and he was provided with a legal counsel in accordance with provisions of the law of the land.

Mr. Aziz said the proceedings of this case went through different stages over a period of one year. Mr. Jadhav’s confessional video statement was taken on March 25, 2016, the initial FIR was registered in Quetta, Balochistan, on April 8 and initial interrogation was conducted on May 2. Detailed interrogation was held on May 22 and a joint investigation team was set up on July 12, he explained.

Mr. Aziz said all statements of witnesses were recorded under oath and in the presence of the accused.

India has rejected the espionage charges levelled against Mr. Jadhav and said that if the death sentence is carried out, New Delhi would consider it as a premeditated murder.

“More active diplomacy is therefore needed to arrest the growing crises in India-Pakistan relations before it becomes even more serious,” said Mr. Aziz.

He said Mr. Jadhav was arrested on March 3, 2016 when he was operating under a pseudonym Mubarak Patel.

“Kulbhushan Jadhav was found in possession of a passport issued by the Government of India on May 12, 2015 and valid until May 11, 2024. Jadhav confessed that he is a resident of Mumbai, India, still serving in the Indian Navy and his retirement is due in 2022.”

According to Mr. Aziz, Mr. Jadhav was tried by Field General Court Martial under section 59 of the Pakistan Army Act 1952 and Section 3 of Official Secret Act of 1923 and he was provided with a legal counsel in accordance with provisions of the law of the land.

Mr. Aziz said the proceedings of this case went through different stages over a period of one year. Mr. Jadhav’s confessional video statement was taken on March 25, 2016, the initial FIR was registered in Quetta, Balochistan, on April 8 and initial interrogation was conducted on May 2. Detailed interrogation was held on May 22 and a joint investigation team was set up on July 12, he explained.

Mr. Aziz said all statements of witnesses were recorded under oath and in the presence of the accused.

India has rejected the espionage charges levelled against Mr. Jadhav and said that if the death sentence is carried out, New Delhi would consider it as a premeditated murder.

Lawyers told not to accept Jadhav’s case

The Lahore High Court Bar Association said on Friday that it would act against any lawyer who extended services to Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav, who has been sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court.

“The Lahore High Court Bar Association (LHBA) has unanimously decided to cancel the membership of any lawyer who offers his services to Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav,” LHBA secretary-general Amer Saeed Raan said.

He said the bar had asked the government not to yield to any foreign pressure. “India has declared Jadhav its son and is putting pressure on the Pakistani government for his release. We demand that the Indian spy, who is involved in playing with the lives of Pakistanis, not be spared and the government ensure his hanging,” he said.

Earlier, Pakistan’s top military commanders made it clear that “no compromise” shall be made on such “anti-state acts.”

(With inputs from PTI)

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Printable version | Jan 22, 2021 11:15:31 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/india-seeks-consular-access-to-kulbhushan-jadhav/article18019444.ece

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