Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj on Tuesday assured lawmakers that New Delhi would go “out of its way” to save sentenced spy Kulbhushan Jadhav from death row in Pakistan.
Opposition parties on Tuesday raised the issue of Kulbhushan Jadhav who has been sentenced to death in Pakistan on charges of being a Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) spy.
“The spy was tried through Field General Court Martial (FGCM) under the Pakistan Army Act (PAA) and awarded the death sentence. Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa confirmed his death sentence awarded by FGCM,” the ISPR had said.
Calling Jadhav “a son of India”, Swaraj issued a warning to Pakistan saying, “I would caution the Pakistani government to consider the consequences for our bilateral relationship if they proceed on this matter.”
“Our position is very clear, there is no evidence of wrongdoing by Kulbhushan Jadhav,” Swaraj told the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Indian parliament.
Responding to leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad, the External Affairs minister,Swaraj assured the parliamentarians in the House that the government would not stop at just ensuring Jadhav has the best of lawyers to fight his case in the Pakistan Supreme Court, but that the government of India would go out of its way to ensure he gets the best legal assistance through out.
The issue dominated discussions in Parliament on Tuesday morning with the usually bickering Parliament uniting in demanding justice for Jadhav.
Congress gave an adjournment motion notice in Lok Sabha over the matter. Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said that the government would come across as weak if no action was taken against the death sentence against Jadhav.
When asked by a lawmaker if the government would fight Jadhav’s case in the Pakistani apex court, Swaraj said: “We will do more. We will take it up with the president ,Mamnoon Hussain.”
The Indian minister of external affairs alleged that Jadhav was awarded the death sentence on “concocted charges”.
“Jadhav was doing a business in Iran and he was abducted and taken to Pakistan. We sought consular access, but were denied,” she claimed. “He is innocent.”
‘Save Kulbhushan’ was the sentiment that echoed in Lok Sabha, with Parliamentarians across political parties condemning Pakistan.
India retaliated by summoning Basit and issuing a demarche. Sources quoted the demarche as saying, “The proceedings that have led to the sentence against Shri Jadhav are farcical in the absence of any credible evidence against him. It is significant that our High Commission was not even informed that Shri Jadhav was being brought to trial.”
It further said, “If this sentence against an Indian citizen, awarded without observing basic norms of law and justice, is carried out, the Government and people of India will regard it as a case of premeditated murder.”
Home Minister Rajnath Singh,said “Indian Government will do whatever possible for Kulbhushan Jadhav, want to assure all that justice will be done with him.”
AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi also severely criticised Pakistan over the matter and said the government should safely bring Jadhav back to India. He said in the Lok Sabha.
Jadhav was arrested on March 3, 2016 through an operation in Balochistan’s Mashkel area for his alleged involvement in espionage and sabotage activities against Pakistan, the ISPR said. Earlier in March 2016, the Ministry of External Affairs said that the former Indian naval officer was arrested by Pakistan for allegedly engaging in subversive activities was possibly kidnapped from Iran and denied any possibilities of him being involved in subversive activities in Pakistan. The accused, used to run a business in the Iranian port city of Chabahar. He was seen in a video confessing that he was an official of the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), India’s external intelligence agency.