Amid the outrage over the death sentence awarded to alleged Indian ‘spy Kulbhushan Jadhav, India on Tuesday warned Pakistan of consequences if it executed him. A defiant Islamabad justified the capital punishment.
A day after Jadhav’s sentencing by a Pakistani military court, the issue resonated both inside and outside Parliament.
While Parliament unanimously condemned Pakistan’s decision, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj asserted that New Delhi “will go out of the way to save him (Jadhav)”. “An innocent Indian citizen is facing death sentence in Pakistan without due process and in violation of basic norms of law, justice and international relations,” Sushma Swaraj told both houses of Parliament.
“I would caution the Pakistan government to consider the consequences for our bilateral relationship if they proceed on this matter,” she said. The minister reiterated India’s stand that Jadhav, arrested in March 2016 reportedly from Balochistan and accused of espionage and waging war against Pakistan, had been framed under false charges.
She said Pakistan’s aim was to divert global attention from its acts of sponsoring terrorism in India. “We have no choice but to regard this sentence if carried out as an act of premeditated murder.” India would appeal to the Supreme Court of Pakistan and petition the President of Pakistan to save “the son of the nation”, Sushma Swaraj said.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh said New Delhi would do everything required to secure justice for Jadhav.
“We condemn this act of Pakistan. I would like to assure the house that whatever needs to be done to provide justice to Jadhav, we will do.”
Singh accused Pakistan of ignoring “basic norms of law and justice” in sentencing Jadhav. “Pakistan has said a valid Indian passport has been found from Jadhav. If he was having a valid passport, how can he be a spy?”
Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad, urged the government to appoint a “strong lawyer” who can fight Jadhav’s case in the Supreme Court of Pakistan. Pakistan justified the death sentence and said it was capable of defending itself against external aggression.
“We cannot remain oblivious to defending our sovereignty and protecting our independence,” Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said. Pakistan was “fully equipped” to deal with all such “elements with an iron fist”, its Defence Minister Khawaja Asif told the Senate in an obvious reference to Indian warnings.