Kulbhushan Jadhav death sentence: Sushma Swaraj warns Pakistan of dire consequences, says it will hit bilateral ties

11 April 2017, 04:01 PM
Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj -file photo
Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj -file photo

Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj on Tuesday warned Pakistan that execution of the death sentence handed down to Kulbhushan Jadhav by a military court would be taken as “pre-meditated murder” and Islamabad should consider its consequences on bilateral relations.

“There is no evidence of wrongdoing by Jadhav. If anything, he is the victim of a plan that seeks to cast aspersions on India to deflect international attention from Pakistan’s well-known record of sponsoring and supporting terrorism,” External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said in an identical statement in both Houses of Parliament.

“Under these circumstances, we have no choice but to regard the sentence, if carried out, as an act of pre-meditated murder,” she said, adding that the sentence by the Pakistani Military Court was based on “concocted charges”.

“Let me state clearly that the government and the 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.

“I would caution the Pakistan government to consider the consequences for our bilateral relationship if they proceed on this matter,” Swaraj said categorically.

She said the process adopted by the Pakistani military court to award the death sentence “tells us a lot about the farcical nature of the alleged proceedings which have led to indefensible verdict against an innocent kidnapped Indian.”

Replying to a suggestion by Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad, Swaraj said the government will not only ensure that Jadhav is provided with the best of lawyers in the Supreme Court of Pakistan, but will take up it with the President of Pakistan also.

“Whatever is necessary, we will do,” she said, adding that Jadhav was “not only the son of his parents, but is the son of India.”

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Swaraj said Jadhav was doing business in Iran and was kidnapped and taken to Pakistan. “The exact circumstances are unclear and can only be ascertained if we have consular access to him”, which has been denied by the Pakistani authorities.

“It is extraordinary that yesterday, a decision is suddenly announced awarding a death sentence in this case when previous exchanges with India iteslf underlines the insufficiency of evidence,” the Minister said.

Earlier in the Lok Sabha, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said the government will do everything possible to get justice for Jadhav.

While condemning the action, Singh said that Pakistan had ignored all norms of law and justice.

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“The government strongly condemns it. All norms of law and justice were ignored. I want to assure the House that the government will do everything possible to get justice for Jadhav. He will get justice,” he said.

First Published: Tuesday, April 11, 2017 03:39 PM
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