The Hindu – Delhi summons envoy, issues protest note

Kallol Bhattacherjee & Vijaita Singh

New Delhi, 10 April 2017. India on Monday summoned the Pakistan High Commissioner, protesting strongly after a Pakistan Military Court sentenced an Indian national, Kulbhushan Jadhav, to death for espionage.

The death sentence will be a “premeditated murder,” said a diplomatic note of protest issued by the Ministry of External Affairs even as India suspended release of Pakistani prisoners. “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. Senior Pakistani figures have themselves cast doubt about the adequacy of evidence.

The claim in the ISPR release that Shri Jadhav was provided with a defending officer during the so-called trial is absurd in the circumstances,” stated the note of protest.

Hours after Pakistan’s decision to award the death sentence to Mr Jadhav, India suspended the release of 12 Pakistani prisoners, who were to be repatriated this week.

“It is not the right time for the release of Pakistani prisoners. We are planning harsher steps to protest the death sentence to Jadhav,” said a senior government official. The repatriation of Pakistani prisoners who have completed their sentences, has become routine since 2008 when the two countries signed an agreement.

India maintained that Mr Jadhav was kidnapped last year from Iran, and Pakistan has not provided adequate explanation of how he landed in that country. The government also said Pakistan had not granted consular access to him despite repeated requests.

“Shri Jadhav was kidnapped last year from Iran and his subsequent presence in Pakistan has never been explained credibly. The government of India through its High Commission in Islamabad, has repeatedly sought consular access to him, as provided for by international law.

Requests to that effect were formally made 13 times between 25 March 2016 and 31 March 2017. This was not permitted by the Pakistani authorities,” the diplomatic note said.

Mr. Jadhav was arrested in March 2016 when Pakistan military issued a dramatic video of him admitting to be an agent of India’s external intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing.

Sabotage

The video showed him apparently admitting to sabotage against Pakistani facilities in Balochistan.

“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,” said the note.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/delhi-summons-envoy-issues-protest-note/article17914302.ece

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