India to appeal against Jadhav’s death sentence, seeks charge-sheet: Envoy

This was conveyed by Indian High Commissioner in Islamabad Gautam Bambawale to Pakistan Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua during a meeting sought by him.

india Updated: Apr 18, 2017 19:18 IST
Imtiaz Ahmad
Imtiaz Ahmad
Hindustan Times, Islamabad
Kulbhushan Jadhav,India-Pakistan,Gautam Bambawale
MNS party members held a bike rally from Prabhadevi to Mahim and protested against Pakistan and demanded the release of Kulbhushan Jadhav in Mumbai.(Anshuman Poyrekar/Hindustan Times)

India on Friday sought copies of the charge-sheet and the death sentence awarded to Kulbhushan Jadhav even as it reiterated its demand for consular access to the former Indian Navy officer arrested in Balochistan more than a year ago.

Indian high commissioner Gautam Bambawale demanded the charge-sheet and the judgement of the Pakistani military court that sentenced Jadhav to death when he met foreign secretary Tehmina Janjua.

Bambawale “also sought consular access for the 14th time”, said a brief statement from the Indian mission.

The envoy informed Pakistan that India would appeal against the death sentence given to Jadhav, who was hurriedly tried and sentenced by a military court in murky circumstances.

Bambawale told the media after the meeting that Pakistan had not responded to India’s 13 earlier requests for consular access to Jadhav. “We said he’s an Indian national and under international law, we should get consular access,” he said.

“We will definitely appeal against the judgement. Till we know what is in the charge-sheet and the verdict, how can we appeal?” Bambawale added.

Pakistan has turned down India’s repeated demands for consular access on the ground that Jadhav’s was a case of espionage. Jadhav was reportedly arrested in Balochistan in March last year “for involvement in espionage and sabotage activities against Pakistan”, according to a Pakistani military statement.

Addressing a news briefing at the Foreign Office on Friday, Pakistan’s foreign policy chief Sartaj Aziz alleged Jadhav was “responsible for espionage, sabotage and terrorism” and had been tried “according to the law of the land in a fully transparent manner while preserving his rights”.

“Due process has been followed while proceeding against Mr Jadhav. All further action in this regard shall also be taken in accordance with our laws,” said Aziz, who read from a statement and didn’t take questions.

Aziz listed seven charges against Jadhav, including “IED and grenade attacks” at Quetta, Gwadar and Trubat in Balochistan province, directing attacks on the radar station and civilian boats near Jiwani port, funding “secessionist and terrorist elements through Hawala/Hundi”, sponsoring attacks on Hazaras and Shia pilgrims en route to Iran, and abetting other attacks during 2014-15 that killed and injured “many civilians and soldiers”. He gave no evidence to back up the charges.

Aziz also trashed India’s contention that Jadhav was captured in Iran and asked New Delhi to stop issuing “rhetorical statements” against Islamabad. The Indian statements could lead to diplomatic tensions, he added.

He also listed the steps that Jadhav could take to appeal against the death sentence, including approached an appellate court within 40 days, sending a mercy petition to the Pakistan Army chief within 60 days of the appellate court’s decision and filing a mercy petition with the president within 90 days of the army chief’s decision.

India has said if Pakistan goes ahead with the execution of Jadhav, it would be tantamount to premeditated murder.

First Published: Apr 14, 2017 21:43 IST