fter Sarabjit’s fate, India was worried about Kulbhushan Jadhav. But more than the efforts of India, now Pakistan is helping him to get justice. This is very positive news since the Imran Khan government in Pakistan; a military court in Pakistan had sentenced Kulbhushan Jadhav to death on charges of espionage and terrorism. Now they are modifying its Army Act. If done, the law would allow Kulbhushan Jadhav to appeal against his conviction on charges of espionage before a civilian court. In 2017, a military court in Pakistan convicted Kulbhushan Jadhav, the punishment was awarded by the Field General Court Martial (FGCM), a military court consisting of Pakistan Army officers. (The judges on FGCM aren’t required to possess any specialisation in law.)
Pakistan has claimed that Kulbhushan Jadhav was “arrested” from Balochistan by its security forces on March 3, 2016. However, India has rejected these charges and termed them baseless. India has maintained that Pakistan’s security forces kidnapped Kulbhushan Jadhav, a former Indian Navy officer, when he was in Iran on a business trip. In July this year, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague held that Pakistan violated its obligations under the Vienna Convention by not allowing India consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav. The court had directed Pakistan to provide appropriate remedies to him, including consular access. The verdict was a major victory for India as the ICJ ruled that Pakistan must review the death sentence awarded to Jadhav, who was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of “espionage and terrorism” after a closed trial in April 2017. The court had also ruled that Pakistan had violated India’s rights to consular visits after Kulbhushan Jadhav’s arrest. According to the ICJ, Pakistan “deprived India of the right to communicate with and have access to Kulbhushan Jadhav, to visit him in detention and to arrange for his legal representation.”
Looking at all positive factors, we can hope that the Kulbhushan’s story won’t go Sarabjit way. According another convict in Pakistan who was released later on Surjeet Singh, upon reaching India confessed that Sarabjit and another Indian detainee, Kirpal, had converted to Islam in the hope of getting “concessions” from jail authorities. Sarabjit is known as Sarfaraz while Kirpal’s Muslim name was Mohammad Deen. They embraced Islam for concessions from jail authorities and the Pakistan government, but it didn’t happen. Sarabjeet case hit the headlines for many years, 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 extra ordinary publicity made it worst for him. Similar story is of Kulbhushan.
Pakistan’s foreign office released photo of meeting between Kulbhushan Jadhav and family. Jadhav, met his wife and mother for around 45 minutes across a glass screen. Going by the tweeted photos, Kulbhushan Jadhav could speak to his family only through 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. In a few weeks, the top UN court, the International Court of Justice, was to hear India’s appeal against Jadhav’s death sentence on grounds that he never got an opportunity to defend himself. India also accused Pakistan of denying Jadhav consular access in violation of the rules under the Vienna Convention.
The International Court of Justice stayed the hanging Jadhav sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of spying. The order came a day after India approached by The Hague-based ICJ against the death sentence handed down to Jadhav by Pakistan’s field general court martial. India accused Pakistan of violating the Vienna Convention and said 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 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.
India accepted that an officer arrested in Pakistan served with its navy but at the same time denied that he was an agent for intelligence agency. Indian MEA communicated that Jadhav took premature retirement from the navy and the government had no link since his retirement from the Indian Navy. India expounded that Pakistan had fabricated the documents without ascertaining discrepancies. Pakistan had previously raised concerns over 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. Jadhav’s trial lasted three and a half months and he was convicted for spying for India, waging war against Pakistan, sponsoring terrorism, and destabilising the state. Following the sentencing, the government of India summoned then Pakistani High Commissioner to India, Abdul Basit and issued a demarche stating that the proceedings that led to Jadhav’s sentencing were farcical and India would regard Jadhav’s execution as murder in the first degree. After Sarabjit’s death too, Indian government assured consequences with Pakistan but that remained only a Jumla.
(Any suggestions, comments or dispute with regards to this article send us on [email protected])