India warns of consequences if Kulbhushan Jadhav is hanged; Pakistan defiant
India on Tuesday warned Pakistan to consider the "consequences" on their ties if Kulbhushan Jadhav is hanged.
New Delhi: Amid the outrage over the death sentence awarded to alleged Indian 'spy', India on Tuesday warned Pakistan to consider the "consequences" on their ties if Kulbhushan Jadhav is hanged in the alleged espionage case.
At the same time, it vowed to go "out of the way" to save him.
The death sentence awarded to Jadhav by a Pakistani military court after declaring him a "spy" echoed in both Houses of Parliament where all parties came together to condemn the "indefensible" verdict and pressed the government to take every step to help him.
In Parliament, the government as well as the Opposition, saw the capital punishment as an attempt to defame India and to deflect the attention of the international community from Pakistan-sponsored terrorism.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj made a statement in both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, asserting that India will go "out of the way" to ensure justice to Jadhav who is an "innocent kidnapped Indian".
Jadhav's execution will be taken by India as a "pre-meditated murder" and Pakistan should "consider its consequences" on bilateral relations, if it proceeds on this matter, Swaraj warned.
She said the charges against Jadhav, who was doing business in Iran and was kidnapped and taken to Pakistan, are "concocted" and the trial against him was "farcical", leading to an "indefensible verdict".
"Let me state clearly that the government and the people of India would view very seriously the possibility that an innocent Indian citizen is facing death sentence in Pakistan without due process and in violation of basic norms of law, justice and international relations," she said.
"There is no evidence of wrongdoing by Jadhav. If anything, he is the victim of a plan that seeks to cast aspersions on India to deflect international attention from Pakistan's well-known record of sponsoring and supporting terrorism," the EAM pointed out.
Questioning the trial, she said Pakistan had sought India's assistance to obtain evidence for its investigation and levelled ridiculous charges against senior Indian officials who had no connection to this issue.
Thereafter, Pakistan linked providing consular access to India's acceptance of its position and Indian response was constructive in the hope that some forward movement could be made, Swaraj said.
"We pointed out that consular access to Jadhav would be an essential pre-requisite in order to verify the facts and understand the circumstances of his presence in Pakistan.
"Given this exchange, it is extraordinary that yesterday, a decision is suddenly announced awarding a death sentence in this case when previous exchanges with India itself underlines the insufficiency of evidence" she said, as per PTI.
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"To make matters even more absurd, three hours after the death sentence was announced, the Indian High Commission received an official communication from the Foreign Ministry of Pakistan, reiterating the Pakistani proposal for conditional consular access. That tells us a lot about the farcical nature of the alleged proceedings which have led to an indefensible verdict against an innocent kidnapped Indian," she asserted.
On the other hand, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said New Delhi would do everything required to secure justice for Jadhav.
"We condemn this act of Pakistan. I would like to assure the house that whatever needs to be done to provide justice to Jadhav, we will do."
Singh accused Pakistan of ignoring "basic norms of law and justice" in sentencing Jadhav.
"Pakistan has said a valid Indian passport has been found from Jadhav. If he was having a valid passport, how can he be a spy?" he asked.
Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad, urged the government to appoint a "strong lawyer" who can fight Jadhav`s case in the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
Congress MP Shashi Tharoor too slammed Pakistan.
"What Pakistan is doing is not only an assault on India, it is an assault on international laws, international conventions that affect everybody.
"There are certain countries that finance and arm the Pakistani military. Those countries must be told by us that if this can be done to an Indian today, it can be done to one of their nationals tomorrow," Tharoor said in the Lok Sabha.
Meanwhile, Pakistan justified the death sentence and said it was capable of defending itself against external aggression.
"We cannot remain oblivious to defending our sovereignty and protecting our independence," Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said.
Pakistan was "fully equipped" to deal with all such "elements with an iron fist", Pakistan Defence Minister Khawaja Asif told the Senate in an obvious reference to Indian warnings, as per IANS.
"We will defend our country at all costs," he said and insisted that Jadhav`s trial followed due legal process.
(With Agency inputs)