Pakistan denies consular access to Jadhav again

India said on Thursday that it is engaged in efforts to bring back an alleged Indian spy sentenced to death in Pakistan, who it reiterated is innocent of the charges hurled at him.

Prime Minister's Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz on Friday said India has no credible explanation about why its serving naval commander was in Balochistan. His sentence is likely to remain a "your-move-now" incident, provoking India to respond, and not a final judgment that will lead to his death.

He reiterated that there was no credibility to Jadhav's secret military trial and described as "baseless" the charges of espionage and waging war against Islamabad levelled against him.

There are now around 265 Pakistani nationals lodged in various Indian jails.

After Jadhav's death sentence this is the first time India has shown willingness to talk about it. A recent example was the arrest of Lashkar-e-Toiba militant Mohammad Naved, who had attacked a BSF convoy.

Pakistan has turned down India's repeated demands for consular access on the ground that Jadhav's was a case of espionage. However, India denied Pakistan's contention and maintained that Jadhav was kidnapped by the Pakistan authorities.

Reacting to New Delhi's labelling of Jadhav's death sentence as "premeditated murder", the senior diplomat said the statement would only escalate matters and serve "no useful purpose". He has defended the verdict by saying "due process of law" is followed.

Jadhav, who was tried by a military court, could also file a mercy petition with the Army Chief within 60 days of the decision by the appellate court. Aziz's comments notably came long after the Pakistani Army had filed Jadhav confession to espionage activities on behalf of India's Research & Analysis Wing (RAW) in Pakistan - a video that New Delhi claimed was produced under duress. Mr. Jhadav was provided with a legal counsel in accordance with provisions of our law. Jadhav was arrested in March past year, "for his involvement in espionage and sabotage activities against Pakistan", according to a statement released by the Pakistan armed forces.

Addressing the media in Islamabad, Aziz said, "Inflammatory statements and rhetoric about "pre-meditated murder" and "unrest in Balochistan", will only result in escalation, serving no useful objective". He added that Jadhav has 40 days to appeal against the order in the apex court.

"The whole nation is solidly united against any threat to Pakistan's security that may emerge", he said.

  • Joey Payne