Islamabad, Apr 10 (PTI) In a provocative move, Pakistan’s powerful army chief today approved Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav’s execution after a military court sentenced him to death in a secret trial for alleged involvement in “espionage and sabotage activities” in restive Balochistan and Karachi.
The death sentence to Jadhav, 46, was confirmed by army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa after the Field General Court Martial (FGCM) found him guilty of “all the charges”, said the military’s media wing Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).
“The spy was tried through Field General Court Martial (FGCM) under the Pakistan Army Act (PAA) and awarded the death sentence. Today Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa confirmed his death sentence awarded by FGCM,” it said.
The development could further strain the India-Pakistan ties which were hit after attacks in Pathankot and Uri by Pakistan-based terrorists last year.
According to the army statement, Jadhav, a commander in the Indian Navy, “confessed” before a Magistrate and the court that he was “tasked by RAW to plan, coordinate and organise espionage/sabotage activities aiming to destabilise and wage war against Pakistan by impeding the efforts of Law Enforcement Agencies for restoring peace in Balochistan and Karachi.”
Pakistan claims its security forces had arrested Jadhav from the restive Balochistan province on March 3 last year after he reportedly entered from Iran. It also claimed that he was “a serving officer in the Indian Navy.” The Pakistan Army had also released a “confessional video” of Jadhav.
India had acknowledged that Jadhav had served with the navy but denied that he has any connection with the government.
“The individual has no link with government since his premature retirement from Indian Navy,” the External Affairs Ministry had said in a statement in March last year.
India had demanded Consular access to Jadhav, but Pakistan repeatedly denied it.
The ISPR statement, however, said Jadhav alias Hussein Mubarak Patel was “provided with defending officer as per legal provisions”.
Pakistan army’s decision today is expected to further strain the ties between India and Pakistan.
The two countries have been at loggerheads over several issues, including on Pakistan’s support to terrorism, since the terror attack on an Indian army base in Uri in Kashmir in September last year by Pakistan-based militants killed 18 Indian soldiers.
Ten days later, India launched “surgical strikes” against militant “launchpads” in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
The two sides were also engaged in a war of words last year over Pakistan’s provocative statements on the turmoil in Kashmir following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in July last year.
Leading Pakistani experts viewed the announcement about Jadhav’s death sentence as an unprecedented move, saying it will send a strong message to foreign countries engaging in spying activities in the country.
“Pakistan has sent a message that if somebody does such activities here, it will hand them severe punishment. Those operating against the state will face a similar fate,” Defence analyst Ikram Sehgal told Dawn newspaper.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.