Sushma promises strong fightback

Minister tells Rajya Sabha that Centre will field the best lawyers to take up Jadhav’s case

Published - April 11, 2017 11:09 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Questioning the sentence:  Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge speaks in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday, condemning the death sentence on Kulbhushan Jadhav.

Questioning the sentence: Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge speaks in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday, condemning the death sentence on Kulbhushan Jadhav.

Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said on Tuesday that the Centre should provide Kulbhushan Jadhav the best of lawyers in Pakistan.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj responded by saying that the government would not only ensure that Mr. Jadhav was provided the best of lawyers in the Supreme Court of Pakistan but would also take up the matter with the President of the neighbouring country.

Mr. Azad’s suggestion came at a time when Opposition leaders condemned the death sentence awarded to the Indian citizen by a Pakistani court.

Serious issue

“This is a very serious issue. The Government of India must take it very seriously. The entire nation is shocked and agitated about this matter,” former Defence Minister A.K. Antony said.

“So, you must convey to Pakistan, in strong words, that if they proceed with this, there would be serious repercussions and ultimately, Pakistan will have to repent.”

The Lok Sabha witnessed sarcastic exchanges between the Opposition and the treasury benches on the issue.

When Leader of the Congress Mallikarjuna Kharge questioned the government’s “silence” on the issue, BJP members retorted that India had condemned the death sentence.

“Without an invitation, you can attend a marriage, but you cannot meet him or talk to him on the issue,” Mr. Kharge said, referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to visit Pakistan to attend the marriage of Nawaz Sharif’s daughter near Lahore.

Speaker pacifies

Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said there should be no spat on the issue.

“We all are equally concerned about the fate of Jadhav,” she said.

Mr. Kharge said that while India granted access to Pakistan to visit Pathankot to gather evidence on terror strike, Islamabad denied New Delhi access to Mr. Jadhav.

Tharoor talks tough

Asaduddin Owaisi of the AIMIM urged the government to use its influence for the release of the Indian citizen.

Congress leader Shashi Tharoor said while India had always preferred not to internationalise its relations with Pakistan, it was time it told the world that tomorrow one of their citizens could face a similar fate in Pakistan.

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