Delhi: With Pakistan announcing that the alleged Indian 'spy' Kulbhushan Jadhav, arrested in March 2016, has been sentenced to death, an angry India on Monday stopped the release of a dozen Pakistani prisoners, who were to be repatriated on Wednesday after completion of their prison term.
The move came within hours of Pakistan Army's announcement that its Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa has approved the execution of Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav for alleged "espionage and sabotage" activities.
The government feels that it is not the right time for the release of Pakistani prisoners, official sources said here, as per PTI.
The retaliatory action came as India made it clear that it will be regarded as "premeditated murder" if Pakistan carries out the death sentence "without observing basic norms of law and justice".
The sources said India had no clue about Jadhav's trial in a military court in Pakistan and felt that it was a "stage-managed drama" - from capturing Jadav to alleged confession and finally the so-called trial.
The death sentence to Jadhav, 46, was confirmed by Pakistan Army Chief after the Field General Court Martial (FGCM) found him guilty of "all the charges", said the military's media wing Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) in Rawalpindi.
Meanwhile, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar summoned Pakistan High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit and issued a strongly-worded demarche.
India reacted angrily, saying Jadhav had been sentenced to die "without observing basic norms of law and justice".
The demarche said Jadhav was kidnapped last year from Iran "and his subsequent presence in Pakistan has never been explained credibly".
It said the Indian High Commission in Islamabad had sought consular access to Jadhav 13 times between March 25, 2016 and March 31, 2017. This was not permitted by the Pakistani authorities.
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Indian officials say Jadhav was once with the Navy and that he was engaged in business in Iran when he was abducted by Pakistani intelligence agencies, as per IANS.
New Delhi has repeatedly denied Islamabad's charges of involvement in insurgent activities in Balochistan, Pakistan's biggest province which has a border with Iran.
(With Agency inputs)