India must strongly convey its consensus to Pak on Kulbhushan Jadhav death sentence: Antony

New Delhi [India], Apr. 11 (ANI): Former defence minister A.K. Antony on Tuesday said Pakistan's decision to sentence Kulbhushan Jadhav to death is against all norms and India must strongly convey its consensus to Islamabad.

Antony told ANI, "This decision is against all norms. They have changed the system because Jadhav at the moment is civilian. He retired from the navy 15 years ago. A civilian should be tried in the civil court, but instead of that he was produced in the military court. We must strongly convey our consensus to the Pakistan government in this regard."

He added that the Indian government must take all action to stop Pakistan from carrying out the death sentence taken by them and convey Islamabad that there will be serious consequences which will affect the relation between both countries.

Another Congress leader K. C. Venugopal said, "This is an unlawful and unethical decision taken by the Pakistan, because they have violated all the international conventions in this case. The people of India will be with Kulbhushan Jadhav and action will be taken against Pakistan."

Earlier in the day, following the protests and agitation outside the Pakistan High Commission, the security around the building has been beefed up to prevent any untoward incident.

The premises of the high commission, which are generally provided with an optimal level of security, are now being protected by as many as 10-12 paramilitary forces' personnel and at least two Police Control Room (PCR) vans are on stand-by.

Slamming the Pakistan military court, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has issued a stern warning to Pakistan, saying that Islamabad should be wary of taking such an extreme step as it could result in damaging the bilateral relations between the already hostile neighbours.

"It is an indefensible verdict against an innocent Indian citizen. We have no option but to deem the sentence a premeditated murder. Our position is very clear, there is no evidence of wrongdoing by Kulbhushan Jadhav. I would caution Pakistan government to consider the consequences for our bilateral relationship if they proceed on this matter," said Swaraj in Rajya Sabha.

"Yesterday, Foreign Secretary conveyed our position to the High Commissioner of Pakistan. Let me state clearly 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," she added.

Swaraj further said, "I would also like to tell the House that I have been in touch with the parents of Jadhav and we are extending our fullest support to them in this difficult situation. A strong sense of solidarity expressed by the House will give them more courage at this time".

Both Houses of the Parliament were stalled over the sentencing of Jadhav.

Earlier, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh had assured Lok Sabha MPs that the Centre will do everything possible to save Kulbhushan Jadhav.

Speaking in Lok Sabha, Rajnath Singh said, ''The government of India strongly condemns Pakistan's move to send Kulbhushan Jadhav to gallows on false charges of being a spy.''

Jadhav was arrested in March last year, "for his involvement in espionage and sabotage activities against Pakistan," according to a statement released by the Pakistan armed forces.

The statement said Jadhav confessed that he was tasked by Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), to "plan, coordinate and organize espionage/sabotage activities aiming to destabilise and wage war against Pakistan."

A military court found Jadhav guilty on two counts of espionage and sentenced him to death.

India has strongly objected to the sentencing, saying consular officials were denied access to Jadhav during his trial.

The Ministry of External Affairs later summoned Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit and issued a demarche to Pakistan. (ANI)