Kulbhushan Jadhav death sentence in Pakistan: Why India should not accept the sham verdict

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By Ajith Vijay Kumar | Last Updated: Apr 10, 2017, 16:37 PM IST
Kulbhushan Jadhav death sentence in Pakistan: Why India should not accept the sham verdict

New Delhi: A Pakistani military court, Monday, awarded death sentence to alleged Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav.

The news has been received with shock in India. The shocking manner in which Pakistan's all-powerful military carried out the trial in secret goes against all established international norms on the manner in which espionage cases are to be handled.

Jadhav was reportedly arrested in Balochistan after he entered from Iran on March 03, 2016, for alleged involvement in espionage and sabotage activities. It was alleged that Jadhav was a serving officer in the Indian Navy and deputed to the Indian intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW).

Kulbhushan Jadhav, alleged Indian spy, sentenced to death in Pakistan

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

“The individual has no link with the government since his premature retirement from Indian Navy,” the External Affairs Ministry had said in a statement.

Jadhav is a Mumbai-based businessman who had legitimate business interests in Iran's Bandar-Abbas and Chabahar ports. He had a residence permit of Iran.

Some media reports had claimed that Jadhav was abducted by a Sunni extremist group from the border area and he was later handed over to the army. 

Who is Kulbhushan Jadhav - Things you may not know about ex-Indian Navy officer to be hanged in Pakistan

India later demanded consular access – on 11 occasions - to Kulbushan Jadhav but the Pakistani authorities repeatedly denied the request.

The official statement from the Pakistan's military today claimed that Jadhav was given a defense lawyer. However, the fact that the entire trial was held in secret gives India no confidence in the procedures followed.

Undoubtedly, it is a clear case of justice being denied as per international norms that need to be followed in such cases.

The Pakistani media has pointed out to the “confessional statement” given by Jadhav before a magistrate. However, with the government of India not given access to him, the “confession” can be safely called a sham.

Also, a forensic examination of the confession video by Indian authorities shad revealed that it was heavily edited and the audio was spliced in several places. Union Minister of Sate for Home, Kiren Rijiju, had said that Pakistan was cooking up stories to defame India and that the video was completely doctored and fake.

Importantly, Pakistan Prime Minister's Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz had, last year, admitted that the government was presented with only "insufficient evidence" on Kulbhushan Jadhav.

Addressing a full Senate chamber, Aziz said the dossier on Jadhav contained mere statements.

"It did not have any conclusive evidence," he was quoted as saying by the Geo TV.

"What the dossier contained was not enough. Now it is up to the concerned authorities how long they take to give us more matter on the agent," Aziz said.

As the verdict has been delivered by a military court, Jadhav loses the right to appeal against the verdict in any court of law.

The only remaining legal recourse for him is to approach the President of Pakistan with a mercy petition.

However, given the state of the matters, it does appear that the 'judicial cold murder of Jadhav' has been planned and is being executed by the Pakistan's military. 

Also, the verdict has come as a serious setback to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's efforts to improve relations with Pakistan and may have serious consequences for the already strained ties between the two nations.