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New Delhi: India’s outrage over handling down of death sentence by a Pakistani military court to Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav on the charges of espionage and subversion continued to find its echo in Parliament today.
In a statement in the Rajya Sabha, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said that India’s position on the matter was clear. She asserted there was no evidence of wrongdoing by Mr. Jadhav. ÂIf anything, he is the victim of a plan that seeks to cast aspersions on India to deflect international attention from PakistanÂs well-known record of sponsoring and supporting terrorism. Under these circumstances, we have no choice but to regard the sentence, if carried out, as an act of pre-meditated murder,Â she said.
The Minister said that Foreign Secretary had conveyed India’s position to the High Commissioner of Pakistan on Monday.
In a stern message, she stated that the Government and people of India would view very seriously the possibility that 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.
Ms. Swaraj cautioned the Pakistan Government to consider the consequences for Indo-Pak bilateral relationship if they proceed on this matter.
She informed the Rajya Sabha that she had been in touch with the parents of Mr. Jadhav and the government is extending its fullest support to them in this difficult situation.
Sharing her concern, the Minister stressed that the death sentence by a Pakistani military court martial was given on concocted charges, “I would like to inform the House that Shri Jadhav was doing business in Iran and was kidnapped and taken to Pakistan. The exact circumstances are unclear and can only be ascertained if we have consular access to him. Accordingly, from the time his abduction was known, our High Commission in Islamabad has continuously pressed Pakistani authorities for such access. Although this is provided for by international law and is deemed a norm in international relations, the Government of Pakistan did not permit it. That itself should tell us much about the strength of the case against Mr. Jadhav,” she said. The Minister said that a senior Pakistani leader has himself expressed doubts about the adequacy of evidence in this case.Earlier this year, the Pakistan Government had sought India’s assistance to obtain evidence and other materials for the investigation process. In doing so, they levelled ridiculous charges against senior Indian officials who had no connection to this issue. Thereafter, they linked providing consular access to our acceptance of their position. Nevertheless, in the hope that some forward movement could be made, our response was constructive. We pointed out that consular access to Mr. Jadhav would be an essential pre-requisite in order to verify the facts and understand the circumstances of his presence in Pakistan. Ms. Swaraj said.