Death sentence to Indian 'spy' legal, says Pakistan

Indo Asian News Service

Islamabad, April 11 (IANS) Pakistan on Tuesday justified the death sentence awarded to alleged Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav and said it was capable of protecting itself against external threats.

Refuting Indian claims that the sentence was "premeditated murder", Defence Minister Khwaja Asif told the Senate that the law of the land had been applied and the trial of Jadhav went on for three months.

Jadhav has a right to appeal against his death sentence within 60 days according to the country's law. He can appeal for mercy to the Army Chief, and failing that to the President of Pakistan.

"We have done absolutely nothing that is against the rules and regulations," he said.

He hit out at India's warning that if Jadhav is hanged it will be considered "premeditated murder".

"There is premeditated murder going on even today in Kashmir," the Defence Minister said.

"It was premeditated murder in Gujarat (referring to the 2002 riots). It was premeditated murder (when the) Samjhota Express (was attacked)," he said, adding that Pakistan has tried time and again to reconcile differences with India, but New Delhi has failed to cooperate.

In a reference to Indian warnings of consequences if Jadhav was hanged, he added: "We will defend our country at all costs" and that Pakistan was "fully equipped" to deal with all such "elements with an iron fist".

Asif also said Pakistan will not make any concessions for elements working against the security and the stability of the country, "whether they're operating from inside Pakistan or from outside it".

"No other country has been a target of terrorism the way Pakistan has," Asif said, adding that there are no parallels to the successes Pakistan has made against terrorism.

India has warned Pakistan that bilateral ties would be hit if it went ahead with the death sentence awarded to Jadhav, who Islamabad says was arrested in Balochistan in March 2016.

India denies he was a spy and says he was abducted from Iran.

On Tuesday, Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj reiterated that if Jadhav was hanged, it would amount to premeditated murder.

--IANS

ahm/rn