Former Indian Naval Officer Kulbhushan Jadhav who was arrested in Pakistan on spying charges has been sentenced to death, the head of the Pakistan Military’s Public Relations Department announced on Monday.
This was announced on Pakistan military’s public relations website Inter Services Public relations (ISPR).
The ISPR statement provided no details about when the verdict of the Field General Court Martial (FGCM) was handed down, or when Kulbhushan Jadhav’s trial was held.
“RAW agent Commander Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav was tried BY FGCM under section 59 of Pakistan Army Act (PAA) 1952) and Section 3 of official Secret Act of 1923. FGCM found Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav guilty of all the charges,” the ISPR statement said.
“He confessed before a magistrate and the court that he was tasked by RAW to plan, coordinate and organize espionage / sabotage activities aiming to destabilize and wage war against Pakistan by impeding the efforts of Law Enforcement Agencies for restoring peace in Balochistan and Karachi.”
Jadhav was arrested on March 3 last year in Balochistan on charges of being a Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) agent, fuelling the Baloch separatist movement and attempting to sabotage the $46-billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
Pakistan Army had also released a “confessional video” of Jadhav, who is purportedly heard as saying that he was serving the Indian Navy. In the video, Jadhav allegedly says he arrived in Iran in 2003 and started a small business in Chahbahar.
Since March 2016, India issued at least six note verbales to Pakistan to get consular access to Jadhav, but there was no breakthrough. While Pakistan had been claiming Jadhav is a commander-rank officer with the Indian Navy, India has rejected the allegation and maintained that he retired from the Navy in 2002 and was now a businessman.
Seven days ago Pakistan’s Foreign Affairs Advisor Sartaj Aziz had issued a statement saying that the Pakistan government was not considering to extradite Indian “spy” Kulbhushan Jadhav, who had been arrested for allegedly being involved in “subversive activities”. “We have prepared an FIR and a case is in the process of registration to prosecute the Indian state actor for involvement in subversive and terrorist activities in Pakistan,” Aziz told the Senate of Pakistan. Jadhav was reportedly arrested in Balochistan after entering the country from Iran.
Leading Pakistani experts viewed the announcement about Jadhav’s death sentence as an unprecedented move, saying it will send a strong message to foreign countries engaging in spying activities in the country.
“Pakistan has sent a message that if somebody does such activities here, it will hand them severe punishment. Those operating against the state will face a similar fate,” Defence analyst Ikram Sehgal told Dawn newspaper.