Commenting on the death sentence awarded to Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav, Pakistan Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said that Jadhav, however, has the right to appeal against the death sentence within 60 days. Asif was speaking in the Senate, Upper House of Parliament when he said that Jadhav has the right to appeal against the sentence.
Following the arrest and Monday’s sentencing of death to Kulbhushan Jadhav, Pakistan has faced immense pressure from various sides. Especially, after the Indian authorities claimed that the trial of Jadhav was indeed concluded hastily, Asif said that contrary to that, the trail has been going on for the last three months.
Khawaja Asif initially, following the verdict of the military court that tried Jadhav, said that his death penalty should be taken as an example that people who wage war within Pakistan will not receive any concession and will be dealt with an iron hand. Pakistan authorities while justifying the death sentence emphasised that Islamabad is capable of protecting itself against external threats.
India strongly reacted to Jadhav’s death sentence and said that if Pakistan goes ahead with the death sentence, it will be considered ‘pre-meditated’ murder of an Indian national. To this Asif responded saying that Jadhav’s death sentence is not premeditated murder, but what happening to Kashmir is.
Also reacting to India’s allegation that the judgement passed was ‘farcical’ and as Chidambaram said ‘a sham’, citing the secret nature of the trial by the military court, Asif responded saying that there was nothing in the proceedings that was against the law.
But apart from all claims of the Pakistan, the authorities are still emphasising that it was indeed Jadhav who confessed his crime in a statement, which was made public, and hence there was evidence. However, a confessional video of Jadhav was also made available and India has always been rejecting the video evidence as a doctored one.
In March 2016, Kulbhushan Jadhav was allegedly picked up from Balochistan province when he was making his way into Pakistan from Iran ‘illegally’. They also slapped on him charges of espionage and ‘subversive activities’. Jadhav as per reports was an ex-naval officer, but in 2003 after taking a premature retirement began his own business in Iran. India also suspects that it is also possible that Pakistan might have captured Jadhav from Iran itself.
While the Indian authorities have acknowledged that Jadhav was a former navy officer, it has dismissed claims of him being a RAW agent.