India said today it would appeal against the death sentence to Kulbhushan Jadhav and demanded from Pakistan a certified copy of the charge-sheet as well as the army court order in the case, besides seeking consular access to the retired Indian navy officer.
This was conveyed by Indian High Commissioner in Islamabad Gautam Bambawale to Pakistan Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua during a meeting sought by him.
“We would definitely go to appeal against the judgement but we cannot do it unless we have the details of charges and the copy of verdict. So, my first demand was to provide us the details of the charge-sheet and copy of the verdict,” he said.
Expressing disappointment over Pakistan turning down India’s request for consular access to Jadhav, the Indian envoy said, “They have denied our request for consular access 13 times (in the last one year). I have forcefully asked for consular access on the basis of international law and on humanitarian grounds as he is an Indian national.”
Apart from diplomatic options, India is also exploring legal remedies permitted under Pakistan’s legal system.
Bambawale also said that he has no information about former Pakistani army officer Mohammad Habib who reportedly went missing from Nepal. Pakistani officials suspect that Indian spy agencies were behind his disappearance.
Foreign Secretary Janjua said the trial against Jhadev was conducted under the Pakistan Army Act 1952 and Official Secret Act of 1923, according to a statement.
She said that during the period of trial, “due judicial process was followed and he was provided a lawyer in accordance with relevant laws and the constitution of Pakistan”.
Janjua alleged that the Pakistanis “incarcerated” in Indian prisons have not been provided consular access for years, despite repeated requests and follow-up by the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi.
She said the “rhetoric in the Indian Parliament was unwarranted and only added to fuelling hatred against Pakistan which was not conducive for promoting cordial ties between the two countries, in accordance with our Prime Minister s vision for peace in the region.”
The death sentence to Jadhav, 46, was confirmed by army chief General Bajwa after the Field General Court Martial found him guilty of “espionage and sabotage activities” in Pakistan.
Pakistan claims its security forces had arrested Jadhav from the restive Balochistan province on March 3 last year after he reportedly entered from Iran. It also claimed that he was “a serving officer in the Indian Navy.”
The Pakistan Army had also released a “confessional video” of Jadhav after his arrest. However, India denied Pakistan’s contention and maintained that Jadhav was kidnapped by the Pakistan authorities.
India had made it clear to Pakistan that given the circumstances of the case, absence of any credible evidence to substantiates the concocted charges against Jadhav, farcical nature of the proceedings against him and denial of consular access to him, the people and the government of India will consider carrying out of the army court verdict as a “premeditated murder”.
Pakistan today rejected India’s accusation that there was no credible evidence against Jadhav, and warned that “inflammatory” statements over his death sentence would only result in escalation of tension in the bilateral ties.
Pakistan Prime Minister’s Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said that due process of law was followed in Jadhav’s trial.
India had yesterday criticised the Pakistan government for not sharing Jadhav’s location and details of his condition and said that the international norm to provide consular access was not followed. India and Pakistan have a bilateral agreement on consular access.
Meanwhile, there was no official confirmation on reports of India asking its high commission in Pakistan to go slow on visas to Pakistan nationals in wake of the development.