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Pakistan writes to Iran for help in probing ‘Indian spy’ case

Pakistan has written to Iran seeking help in investigating the activities of Kulbhushan Jhadav, an Indian national arrested in Balochistan on charges of spying.

world Updated: Mar 31, 2016 16:38 IST
HT Correspondent
Pakistani Lt Gen Asim Bajwa (L) speaks with the media as he gives details of an arrested man, Kulbhushan Yadav (R on screen), who Islamabad says is an Indian spy.
Pakistani Lt Gen Asim Bajwa (L) speaks with the media as he gives details of an arrested man, Kulbhushan Yadav (R on screen), who Islamabad says is an Indian spy.(AFP)

The Pakistan government has written to Iran seeking help in investigating the activities of Kulbhushan Jhadav, an Indian national arrested in Balochistan on charges of spying, according to a media report on Thursday.

A letter written by Pakistan’s interior ministry further sought the Iranian government’s help to identify other agents of RAW, India’s external spy agency, operating in the region, Geo News channel reported. The letter also called on Iran to arrest and hand over another Indian spy identified only as “Rakesh alias Rizwan”.

India has dismissed Pakistan’s allegations that Jhadav, a former officer of the Indian Navy, was involved in espionage. Minister of state for home affairs Kiren Rijiju on Wednesday accused Pakistan of “cooking up” stories to defame India and of releasing a “doctored video” in which Jhadav is seen purportedly “confessing” to New Delhi’s alleged involvement in terrorist activities in Balochistan.

Jhadav, who was arrested by intelligence agencies in Balochistan, is believed to have been running a business in the Iranian port of Chabahar.

Pakistan also said on Thursday it had apprised the European Union and major capitals about the arrest of Jhadav. Foreign Office spokesperson Nafees Zakaria told a weekly news that the “the whole world saw the Indian agent’s confessional statement”.

Read: Pak arrests ‘RAW’ agent, India denies link: All you need to know

Zakaria said Pakistan has shared “evidence” regarding India’s alleged involvement in “terror activities” with the United Nations. Jhadav’s arrest will also be taken up with the world body, he said.

A report in The Express Tribune newspaper said the backchannel contacts between the national security advisers (NSAs) of India and Pakistan to discuss security and terrorism-related issues was “in danger of being scrapped” after Indian NSA Ajit Doval’s name was linked to the controversy created by the arrest of Jhadav.

The daily quoted unnamed security officials as saying that Jhadav’s “confessional statement” had confirmed the Indian NSA’s role as the “architect of RAW’s current policy of stoking violence” in Balochistan.

On Tuesday, chief military spokesman Lt Gen Asim Bajwa had claimed that Jhadav was being directly handled by the Indian NSA and RAW chief.

The “serious nature of the allegation against Doval has compelled Pakistan to reconsider the arrangement” involving the two NSAs, the report said.

Read: Businessman? Cop’s son? Conflicting claims over ‘spy’ arrested in Pak

Doval and his Pakistani counterpart Lt Gen (retired) Nasser Khan Janjua have played a key role in recent efforts to put ties on an even keel. Their secret meeting in Bangkok in December paved the way for an agreement between the two countries to resume bilateral dialogue.

The military establishment has conveyed its concerns to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and a final decision on continuing the contacts between the NSAs will be taken by the premier, the report said.

Meanwhile, Iran on Thursday sought to clear the air over reports that Jhadav had been operating from its soil. A statement issued by the Iranian embassy in Islamabad said some elements were trying to spread “undignified” and “offensive” rumours to undermine Iran-Pakistan relations.

“During the past few days, some sections of Pakistani media have spread contents regarding detention of an Indian agent and the matter related to it, which could have negative implications on the fraternal and friendly atmosphere of Iran and Pakistan,” the statement said.

Iran had “always proved itself as a confident partner and neighbour” for Pakistan, whose western borders “have never been threatened”, the statement said.

“Security of Iran is security of Pakistan and security of Pakistan is security of Iran,” the statement added.

Read: Pak releases video of ‘RAW officer’s confession’, India rubbishes claim