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Rediff.com  » News » Jadhav case: India seeks consular access for 14th time, demands copy of verdict from Pak

Jadhav case: India seeks consular access for 14th time, demands copy of verdict from Pak

Last updated on: April 14, 2017 20:56 IST

India on Friday said that it would appeal against the death sentence to Kulbhushan Jadhav and demanded from Pakistan a certified copy of the chargesheet as well as the army court order in the case, besides seeking consular access to the retired Indian navy officer.

This was conveyed by Indian High Commissioner in Islamabad Gautam Bambawale to Pakistan Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua during a meeting sought by him.

"We would definitely go to appeal against the judgment but we cannot do it unless we have the details of charges and the copy of verdict. So, my first demand was to provide us the details of the chargesheet and copy of the verdict," he said.

Expressing disappointment over Pakistan turning down India's request for consular access to Jadhav, the Indian envoy said, "They have denied our request for consular access 13 times (in the last one year). I have forcefully asked for consular access on the basis of international law and on humanitarian grounds as he is an Indian national."

Apart from diplomatic options, India is also exploring legal remedies permitted under Pakistan's legal system.

Bambawale also said that he has no information about former Pakistani army officer Mohammad Habib who reportedly went missing from Nepal. Pakistani officials suspect that Indian spy agencies were behind his disappearance.

The death sentence to Jadhav, 46, was confirmed by army chief General Bajwa after the Field General Court Martial found him guilty of "espionage and sabotage activities" in Pakistan.

Pakistan claims its security forces had arrested Jadhav from the restive 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. However, India denied Pakistan's contention and maintained that Jadhav was kidnapped by the Pakistan authorities.

India had made it clear to Pakistan that given the circumstances of the case, absence of any credible evidence to substantiates the concocted charges against Jadhav, farcical nature of the proceedings against him and denial of consular access to him, the people and the government of India will consider carrying out of the army court verdict as a "premeditated murder".

Pakistan on Friday rejected India's accusation that there was no credible evidence against Jadhav, and warned that "inflammatory" statements over his death sentence would only result in escalation of tension in the bilateral ties.

Pakistan Prime Minister's Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said that due process of law was followed in Jadhav's trial.

Aziz in a detailed statement read out to the media at the foreign office said that India through its reaction was aggravating the situation.

Rejecting the Indian accusation of unfair trial, Aziz said that the first FIR against was lodged on April 8, 2016 by police's counter terrorism department in Quetta, the capital of Balochistan.

He said detailed trial was held and all relevant laws including Evidence Act and recording of statement before a magistrate were followed. Jadhav was also provided legal assistance.

"Kulbhushan Jhadav, who is responsible for espionage, sabotage and terrorism in Pakistan, has been tried according to the law of the land, in a fully transparent manner while preserving his rights, as per the Constitution of Pakistan," he said.

"His sentence is based on credible, specific evidence proving his involvement in espionage and terrorist activities in Pakistan."

India on Thursday criticised the Pakistan government for not sharing Jadhav's location and details of his condition and said that the international norm to provide consular access was not followed. India and Pakistan have a bilateral agreement on consular access.

India had conveyed to Pakistan that given the circumstances of the case, absence of any credible evidence to substantiates the concocted charges against Jadhav, farcical nature of the proceedings against him and denial of consular access to him, the people and the government of India will consider this as a "premeditated murder".

Aziz "condemned" the Indian government's reaction over Jadhav's sentencing and warned that it would further "aggravate the people-to-people hostility".

"I would like to ask India why Kulbhushan Jhadav was using a fake identity impersonating as a Muslim? Why would an innocent man possess two passports, one with a Hindu name and another with a Muslim name? Since India has no credible explanation about why their serving Naval Commander was in Balochistan, it has unleashed a flimsy propaganda campaign. 

"Inflammatory statements and rhetoric about 'pre-meditated murder' and 'unrest in Balochistan', will only result in escalation, serving no useful purpose," Aziz warned.

"We condemn the baseless allegations from India, especially in the light of the fact that it was non-cooperation and lack of Indian response to Pakistan’s request for legal assistance, due to which consular access has not been provided to Mr. Jhadav.

"We expect India to behave responsibly and refrain from issuing statements that will further aggravate people-to-people hostility. More active diplomacy is therefore needed to arrest the growing crises in India-Pakistan relations before it becomes even more serious," Aziz said.

Aziz also said that a Letter of Assistance requesting specific information and access to certain key witnesses was shared with the Government of India on January 23, 2017.

"There has been no response from the Indian side so far," he said.

Providing details of the trial, Aziz said that the confessional video statement of Jhadav followed by initial FIR in CTD Quetta on April 8, 2016.

The initial interrogation was done May 2 and detailed interrogation on May 22. It was followed by the constitution of a Joint Investigation Team on July 12.

The confessional statement under Section 164 CrPC was recorded on July 22 and recording of summary of evidence done on September 24.

The first trial proceeding was held on September 21, second proceeding on October 19, third proceeding on November 29, 2016 and fourth proceeding on February 12, 2017. The death sentence was endorsed on April 10, 2017.

Aziz said that a law qualified field officer was provided to defend Jadhav throughout the court proceedings.

Aziz said Jadhav can appeal against the verdict of the military tribunal within 40 days to a military Appellate Court. He can file an appeal to the army chief within 60 days against the decision of the Appellate Court.

Jadhav can file mercy petition to the President of Pakistan within 90 days if the army chief rejects the appeal for clemency.

Aziz listed a several cases of terrorism in which he said Jadhav was involved.

"He was part of sabotage and terrorism in which civilians and security personnel were killed," he claimed.

Aziz also accused Jadhav of orchestrating attacks against minority Shia Hazara community in Quetta.

Aziz also said that India has not allowed consular access to many Pakistani prisoners for many years despite repeated requests.

He also said that all political parties had supported the decision of the military tribunal and the entire nation was united against any threat.

Sajjad Hussain
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