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Wednesday, October 4, 2023
HomeEditorialHope Kulbhushan’s story won’t go Sarabjit way

Hope Kulbhushan’s story won’t go Sarabjit way

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And the decision in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case is out! The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has ruled in favour of India on merits, affirming Jadhav’s right to consular access and notification. The Court has also directed Pakistan to provide effective review and reconsideration of his conviction and sentences.

While the verdict is considered as a major diplomatic win for India, hope Kulbhushan’s story won’t go Sarabjit way. According to Surjeet Singh, another convict in Pakistan who was released later on, upon reaching India confessed that Sarabjit and another Indian detainee Kirpal had converted to Islam in the hope of getting “concessions” from jail authorities. India accused Pakistan of denying consular access to Jadhav in violation of the rules under the Vienna Convention.

Sarabjit is known as Sarfaraz while Kirpal’s Muslim name was Mohammad Deen. They embraced Islam for concessions from the jail authorities and from the Pakistan government, but it didn’t happen. Sarabjit case hit the headlines after his sister made this issue international; finally, his release was announced but he was attacked in the Central Jail Lahore (Kot Lakhpat jail).

According to his sister, the attack on Singh was pre-planned and the jail authorities were involved. His wife, sister, and two daughters were allowed to visit him in the hospital but Sarabjit returned dead to Indian soil. The extraordinary publicity made it worst for him. Kulbhushan Jadhav’s story is of a similar kind.

Pakistan’s foreign office released a photo of meeting between Kulbhushan Jadhav and family in December 2017. Jadhav met his wife and mother at the Pak foreign ministry for around 45 minutes across a glass screen. Going by the tweeted photos, Kulbhushan Jadhav could speak to his family only through the intercom, with five officials present and no physical contact allowed.

Pakistan’s foreign office portrayed the brief meeting – coming after months of waiting on the family’s visa application – as a grand gesture on the birthday of Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

The International Court of Justice stayed the hanging of Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav who was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of spying. The order came a day after India approached the Hague-based ICJ against the death sentence handed down to Jadhav by Pakistan’s field general court-martial in April, sources said.

India has accused Pakistan of violating the Vienna Convention and said that Jadhav was kidnapped from Iran where he was involved in business activities after retiring from the Indian Navy but Pakistan claimed to have arrested him from Balochistan on March 3, 2016.

Many appeals were made; many petitions were filed to save Jadhav because no one wants him to die the way Sarabjit died. Jadhav was born in Sangli, Maharashtra; his father is a retired Mumbai Police officer. Jadhav is married and has two children. His family resides in Powai, Mumbai.

According to reports in the Pakistani media, Jadhav joined the Indian National Defence Academy in 1987 and was commissioned in the engineering branch of the Indian Navy in 1991. After the 2001 attack on the Parliament of India, he started gathering information and intelligence within India. After 14 years of service, he entered into intelligence operations in 2003 and established a small business in Chabahar in Iran. From Chabahar, he made several undetected visits to Pakistan, where his activities were confined to Karachi and Balochistan.

According to the Pakistani government, on March 3, 2016, Jadhav was arrested inside Balochistan during a counterintelligence raid conducted by the security forces. He was arrested in Mashkel near the border region of Chaman, having made illegal entry into Pakistan via Iran.

Pakistani security forces reported Jadhav as a serving officer in the Indian Navy and asserted that he was commissioned to the Research and Analysis Wing, India’s external intelligence agency. They believed him to be involved in subversive activities in Balochistan and Karachi. Jadhav was shifted to Islamabad for interrogation.

India accepted that an officer arrested in Pakistan served with their Navy but at the same time denied that he was an agent for an intelligence agency. Indian MEA communicated that Jadhav took premature retirement from the Indian Navy and the government had no link since his retirement. India expounded that Pakistan had fabricated the documents without ascertaining discrepancies. Pakistan has previously raised concerns over the involvement of foreign elements in terrorist activities in its territory but this was the first instance of India acknowledging the arrest across the border of an individual associated with its armed forces. It stated that Jadhav entered Chabahar with a visa stamped on a fake passport numbered L9630722 in 2003 where he got a new identity of Hussain Mubarak Patel born on August 30, 1968, from Maharashtra. Officials claimed that his job was to weaken Pakistan by solidifying separatist movement in Balochistan and Karachi — a mission that officially began in 2013.

Jadhav’s trial lasted three and a half months and the charges he was convicted for included spying for India, waging war against Pakistan, sponsoring terrorism, and destabilising the state. Following the sentencing, the government of India summoned Pakistani High Commissioner to India, Abdul Basit and issued a demarche stating that the proceedings that led to Jadhav’s sentencing were farcical and that India would regard Jadhav’s execution as murder in the first degree. The Indian government also assured consequences with Pakistan after Sarabjit’s death, but that remained only a Jumla. The big question this time is that CAN WE SAVE JADHAV?

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Vaidehi Taman
Vaidehi Taman
Vaidehi Taman an Accredited Journalist from Maharashtra is bestowed with three Honourary Doctorate in Journalism. Vaidehi has been an active journalist for the past 21 years, and is also the founding editor of an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, and The Democracy digital video news portal is her brain child. Vaidehi has three books in her name, "Sikhism vs Sickism", "Life Beyond Complications" and "Vedanti". She is an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, OSCP offensive securities, Certified Security Analyst and Licensed Penetration Tester that caters to her freelance jobs.
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