India and Pakistan on Tuesday sparred after the Pakistan Army released a video of an arrested ex-Indian Navy officer purportedly "confessing" his "involvement" in terror activities in Balochistan at his country's behest, a charge rubbished by India, which alleged he could have been "abducted" from Iran.
New Delhi also sought from Islamabad consular access to the Indian national.
The head of Pakistan Army's Inter-Services Public Relations Lt Gen Asim Bajwa and Federal Information Minister Pervez Rashid held a press conference in Islamabad to release the video, saying Kul Bhoshan Yadav "confessed" to working for Indian intelligence agency RAW to "foment trouble" in the restive province of Balochistan.
Yadav had been arrested recently in Pakistan, which described him as an officer of the Indian Navy, a claim debunked by the Indian government which said he had no link with the Government since his premature retirement from the Navy but Bajwa claimed that Yadav was still a serving officer due to retire in 2022.
"We have seen a video released by Pakistani authorities of a former Indian Naval officer, doing business in Iran, who is in Pakistani custody under unexplained circumstances. The video has this individual making statements which have no basis in fact. That the individual claims to make the statements of his own free will not only challenges credulity but clearly indicates tutoring," the external affairs ministry said in a press statement released in Delhi tonight.
"Government categorically rejects allegations that this individual was involved in subversive activities in Pakistan at our behest. Our enquiries reveal that he apparently was being harassed while operating a legitimate business from Iran.
"While we probe this aspect further, his presence now in Pakistan raises questions, including the possibility of his abduction from Iran. This would become clear only if we are given consular access to him and we urge the Government of Pakistan to respond immediately to our request," it said.
The statement further said, "It is also relevant to note here that despite our request, we have not been given consular access to an Indian national under detention in a foreign country, as is the accepted international practice."
"We are naturally concerned about his well-being in these circumstances," it added.
Citing Yadav's case, Bajwa accused India of carrying out "state-sponsored terrorism" in Pakistan. There cannot be a clearer "evidence of Indian interference in Pakistan", he claimed.
The Pakistanis claimed that Yadav had established a small business in Chabahar in Iran and had "directed" anti-Pakistan activities in Karachi and Balochistan.
"He converted to Islam and worked at Gadani under the cover of a scrap dealer," Bajwa said at a joint press conference with Rashid.
IMAGE: A screengrab of the 'confessional' video released by the Pak Army. Photograph: YouTube