Pakistan points finger at India over army officer's disappearance

Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre on Thursday said that India was piling diplomatic pressure on Pakistan to release Kulbhushan Jadhav and that if the neighbouring country went ahead with his execution, New Delhi would treat it as murder, PTI reported.

He said India had made 13 requests between the time of Jadhav's arrest and April 10, 2017, for consular access to Jadhav, but that Islamabad had denied all of them. Saying any comparison between the two was untenable, Pakistan's foreign office spokesperson Nafees Zakaria said, "It's unreasonable to link the Jadhav case with Habib Zahir".

New Delhi also said it had no knowledge of Mr Jadhav's location in Pakistan or his condition, asserting that the government was making all efforts to get him back.

The death sentence to Jadhav, 46, was confirmed by army chief Gen Bajwa after the Field General Court Martial found him guilty of "espionage and sabotage activities" in Pakistan.

India is engaged with the Pakistani authorities to secure the release of a citizen on death row, but Islamabad has refused to share any details on him so far, Indian officials said on Thursday. "The arrest of four terrorists by Sindh Rangers, yesterday, is also a case in point", he said.

Pakistan military court announced the sentence without a fair trial.

"The worldwide norm is consular access".

A Pakistani military court has sentenced Jadhav to death in an alleged espionage case, almost a year after he was arrested by security officials in Balochistan. The Government is in touch with Pakistan through the Indian High Commission on this immensely important issue, he said.

However, this year, the external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj informed the parliament on Tuesday, that Pakistan "sought our assistance to obtain evidence and other materials for the investigation process".

Marri appreciated the comment of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Subramanian Swamy, who had said if Pakistan takes such measures then India should recognise Balochistan as an independent sovereign country.

If Pakistan makes good on the sentencing and executes Jadhav, there is little reason to doubt that India's promise of a swift freeze in bilateral relations wouldn't come to pass.

Baglay also said that Jadhav was "legally doing business" in Iran's Chabahar port and that the issue has been discussed with Tehran. "We will consider it as murder of an Indian national".

  • Rogelio Becker