Kulbhushan death sentence: Govt. says Pak's belligerent behavior won't be accepted

Bhubaneswar/Nasik, (Odisha/Maharashtra) [India] Apr. 14 (ANI): Condemning the Pakistan military court's move of giving death sentence to former Indian naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav, the government on Friday said Islamabad's belligerent behavior is not acceptable, adding it will make best efforts to solve the matter.

"This is absolute belligerency on the part of the Pakistan government. The denial of Consular access is something which is a right of an individual. I think Indian Government is making best of its efforts and the course of action will be decided in the future," Union Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy told ANI.

He added that this is a diplomatic issue now.

"Snatching a person's right will not be accepted internationally as well," Rudy said.

Meanwhile, Maharashtra Defence Minister Subhash Bhamre said the government would take required actions in this context.

"Every possible move will be taken by the government to provide justice to Jadhav," he said.

Earlier in the day, Pakistan asked India to refrain from issuing statements that could aggravate hostility between the two sides post the death sentence to Jadhav.

In a press briefing, Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said there is a need to arrest the growing crisis in Pakistan-India relations before it becomes serious.

Aziz claimed that due process was followed in the trials that led to awarding death sentence to Jadhav for espionage and subversive activities in Pakistan.

He said that Jadhav was tried under the law of the land in a fairly transparent manner and awarded punishment on the basis of credible and specific evidence of his involvement in financing terrorism and carrying out subversive activities in Pakistan.

Putting the ball in India's court, he also claimed that the Letter of Assistance requesting specific information and access to certain key witnesses was shared with New Delhi in January this year.

"Inflammatory statements and rhetoric about 'pre-meditated murder' and 'unrest in Balochistan' will only result in escalation, serving no useful purpose," Radio Pakistan quoted Aziz as saying.

The Advisor said that a number of steps were taken during Jadhav's trial to ensure transparency under Pakistani law and Pakistan Army Act.

"His confessional statement was recorded before a magistrate; a qualified officer was provided to defend him throughout proceedings; all statements of witnesses were recorded under oath in the presence of accused and Jadhav was allowed to ask questions from witnesses," he added.

About options available to Jadhav, he said the convict has right of appeal within forty days to an appellate court and he may lodge a mercy petition to the Army Chief within sixty days of the decision by the appellate court.

Aziz added that the convict may lodge a mercy petition to the President of Pakistan within 90 days after the Chief of Army Staff's decision on the mercy petition.

A military court in Pakistan earlier this week found Jadhav guilty on two counts of espionage and sentenced him to death.

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. (ANI)