Kulbhushan Jadhav can appeal against his death sentence to Army Chief within 60 days: Pakistan Defence Minister

A Pakistan military court had sentenced Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav to death on Monday after he was convicted of "espionage and sabotage activities".

Kulbhushan Jadhav can appeal against his death sentence to Army Chief within 60 days: Pakistan Defence Minister

Delhi: Amid outrage in India over Kulbhushan Jadhav issue, Pakistan Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said on Tuesday that the Indian national has a right to appeal against his death sentence within 60 days.

However, he also justified the death penalty given to Jadhav.

Speaking in the Senate (Upper House of Parliament) Asif dismissed Indian concerns that proper legal process was not observed in the trial.

"There was nothing in the (legal) proceedings that was against the law," he said.

He also rejected the charges of premeditated murder.

At the same time, in an attempt to deflect attention from the matter, Asif stated Pakistan's often repeated rant on Kashmir. "It's not premeditated murder, what's happening in Kashmir is (premeditated murder)," he alleged.

The minister further said that the trial of Jadhav went for went on "for three months", rejecting rumours that he was hastily convicted.

Asif maintained that those working against the security of Pakistan would be treated with "iron hands."

"Whether the enemies come from across the border or within Pakistan, they will receive punishment," he said, as per PTI.

He said that Jadhav had confessed his crime in the confessional statement, which is available on record.

India warns Pakistan:

Meanwhile, India today said it will go "out of way" to ensure justice to Jadhav and warned Pakistan that his execution will have consequences on bilateral ties.

The death sentence awarded to Jadhav by a Pakistani military court after declaring him a 'spy' resonated in both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, where all parties came together to condemn the development and pressed the government to take every step to help him.

The government, as well as the Opposition, saw the sentence 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 Houses, asserting that India will go "out of 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.

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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, as per PTI.

"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.

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 and Indian response was constructivein the hope that some forward movement could be made, Swaraj said.

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"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.

"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.

Earlier in the Lok Sabha, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said the government will do everything possible to get justice for Jadhav.

While condemning the action, Singh said that Pakistan had ignored all norms of law and justice.

"The government strongly condemns it. All norms of law and justice were ignored. I want to assure the House that the government will do everything possible to get justice for Jadhav. He will get justice," he said.

Yesterday, a Pakistan military court had sentenced Jadhav to death after he was convicted of "espionage and sabotage activities".

The award of the death sentence to the 46-year-old former Naval officer at a court-martial was confirmed by Pakistan's Army Chief after the Field General Court Martial (FGCM) found him guilty of "all the charges", the military's media wing Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) had said.

The court martial was closed to the public and consular access was not provided to Jadhav.

"The spy was tried through FGCM under the Pakistan Army Act (PAA) and awarded the death sentence. Today Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa confirmed his death sentence awarded by FGCM," it had said.

Reacting strongly, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar in New Delhi had summoned Pakistan High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit and had given him a demarche, which had said that the proceedings that had led to the sentence against Jadhav were "farcical in the absence of any credible evidence" against him.

He had added that Jadhav was kidnapped last year from Iran and his subsequent presence in Pakistan has never been "explained credibly".

Pakistan claims its security forces had arrested Jadhav from the 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.

India had acknowledged that Jadhav had served with the Navy but denied that he has any connection with the government.

(With Agency inputs)