India to appeal Kulbhushan Jadhav's death sentence, rejects Pak claim; says will go any extent to get him justice
India on Friday made it clear that it was ready to go “any extent” to get justice for Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav who has been sentenced to death in Pakistan after an army court found him guilty of espionage.
New Delhi: India on Friday made it clear that it will go to “any extent” to get justice for Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav who has been sentenced to death in Pakistan after an army court found him guilty of espionage.
The Indian High Commission made a fresh attempt today to get consular access to the retired Indian navy officer but it was refused.
It has also demanded a copy of the charge-sheet and the court order and based on which it hopes to chart its next move.
Indian High Commissioner Gautam Bambawale on Friday met with Pakistan Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua and told her India would appeal in the case.
"We would definitely go to appeal against the judgement but we cannot do it unless we have the details of charges and the copy of verdict.
“So, my first demand was to provide us the details of the charge-sheet and copy of the verdict," IANS quoted him as saying.
Expressing disappointment over turning down India's request for consular access to Jadhav, the Indian envoy said, "They have denied our request for consular access 13 times (in the last one year).
“I have forcefully asked for consular access on the basis of international law and on humanitarian grounds as he is an Indian national."
Apart from diplomatic options, India is also exploring legal remedies permitted under Pakistan's legal system.
Bambawale also said that he has no information about former Pakistani army officer Mohammad Habib who reportedly went missing from Nepal. Pakistani officials suspect that Indian spy agencies were behind his disappearance.
Foreign Secretary Janjua said the trial against Jhadev was conducted under the Pakistan Army Act 1952 and Official Secret Act of 1923.
She said that during the period of trial, "due judicial process was followed and he was provided a lawyer in accordance with relevant laws and the constitution of Pakistan".
Janjua alleged that the Pakistanis "incarcerated" in Indian prisons have not been provided consular access for years, despite repeated requests and follow-up by the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi.
She said the "rhetoric in the Indian Parliament was unwarranted and only added to fuelling hatred against Pakistan which was not conducive for promoting cordial ties between the two countries, in accordance with our Prime Minister's vision for peace in the region."
The death sentence to Jadhav, 46, was confirmed by army chief General Bajwa after the Field General Court Martial found him guilty of "espionage and sabotage activities" in Pakistan.
Pakistan claims its security forces had arrested Jadhav from the restive Balochistan province on March 3 last year after he reportedly entered from Iran. It also claimed that he was "a serving officer in the Indian Navy."
The Pakistan Army had also released a "confessional video" of Jadhav after his arrest. However, India denied Pakistan's contention and maintained that Jadhav was kidnapped by the Pakistan authorities.
India had made it clear to Pakistan that given the circumstances of the case, absence of any credible evidence to substantiates the concocted charges against Jadhav, farcical nature of the proceedings against him and denial of consular access to him, the people and the government of India will consider carrying out of the army court verdict as a "premeditated murder".
Pakistan today rejected India's accusation that there was no credible evidence against Jadhav, and warned that "inflammatory" statements over his death sentence would only result in escalation of tension in the bilateral ties.
Pakistan Prime Minister's Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said that due process of law was followed in Jadhav's trial.
India had yesterday criticised the Pakistan government for not sharing Jadhav's location and details of his condition and said that the international norm to provide consular access was not followed. India and Pakistan have a bilateral agreement on consular access.
Aziz in a detailed statement read out to the media at the Foreign Office said that India through its reaction was aggravating the situation.
Rejecting Indian accusation of an unfair trail, Aziz said that the first FIR against was lodged on April 8, 2016, by police's Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) in Quetta, the capital of Balochistan.
He said detailed trail was held and all relevant laws including Evidence Act and recording of statement before a magistrate were followed. Jadhav was also provided legal assistance.
"Kulbushan Jhadav, who is responsible for espionage, sabotage, and terrorism in Pakistan, has been tried according to the law of the land, in a fully transparent manner while preserving his rights, as per the Constitution of Pakistan," he said.
"His sentence is based on credible, specific evidence proving his involvement in espionage and terrorist activities in Pakistan."
Aziz "condemned" the Indian reaction over Jadhav's sentencing and warned that it would further "aggravate the people-to-people hostility".
"I would like to ask India why Kulbushan Jhadav was using a fake identity impersonating as a Muslim? Why would an innocent man possess two passports, one with a Hindu name and another with a Muslim name?
“Since India has no credible explanation about why their serving Naval Commander was in Balochistan, it has unleashed a flimsy propaganda campaign. Inflammatory statements and rhetoric about 'pre- meditated murder' and 'unrest in Balochistan', will only result in escalation, serving no useful purpose," Aziz warned.
Aziz said Jadhav can appeal against the verdict of the military tribunal within 40 days to a military Appellate Court. He can file an appeal to the army chief within 60 days against the decision of the Appellate Court.
Jadhav can file a mercy petition to the President of Pakistan within 90 days if the army chief rejects the appeal for clemency.
Aziz listed several cases of terrorism in which he said Jadhav was involved.
Meanwhile, India has rejected Aziz's claim of not responding to information sought on Jadhav.
Rubbishing his claim, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said, "No, that's not true” and “India will go to any extent to get Kulbhushan justice".
(With agency inputs)