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Pakistan releases new Kulbhushan Jadhav video, India says another coerced statement

The video was released just days after Indian death row prisoner Kulbhushan Jadhav was allowed to meet his wife and mother in Islamabad.

india Updated: Jan 05, 2018 07:57 IST
HT Correspondents
HT Correspondents
Hindustan Times, New Delhi/Islamabad
Kulbhushan Jadhav,Kulbhushan Jadhav video,Pakistan
Screengrab of Indian death row prisoner Kulbhushan Jadhav from a video released on Thursday.(ANI Twitter)

Pakistan on Thursday released a new video of death row prisoner Kulbhushan Jadhav in which he asked why India was denying he was an intelligence agent, but New Delhi dismissed it as a “coerced” statement and a piece of propaganda with no credibility.

The video, lasting a little more than two minutes, was shown at the weekly briefing at the Foreign Office in Islamabad. It was apparently shot on December 25, the day Jadhav met his wife and mother. He is heard saying at the start of the footage that he had met his mother “today”.

“But I have to say one thing very important here for the Indian public…and the Indian government and the people in the navy – that my commission is not gone. I am a commissioned officer of the Indian Navy,” he said in the video, which is replete with sudden edits and jump cuts between sentences.

“Why am I commissioned and that I was working in an intelligence agency is being denied?” he said later in the video. He added, “I stand up by that, that I was doing something for RAW…I am a soldier, I was doing something for my country.”

Jadhav added he is being well looked after in captivity and his mother was happy to see him in a “good state”.

Soon after the video was aired by TV news channels, the external affairs ministry spokesperson said it would be hard to believe a prisoner certifying his own welfare under duress.

“This does not come as a surprise. Pakistan is simply continuing its practice of putting out coerced statements on video. It is time for them to realise that such propagandistic exercises simply carry no credibility,” the spokesperson said.

“The absurdity of a captive under duress certifying his own welfare while mouthing allegations of his captors clearly merits no comment,” the spokesperson said, adding Pakistan should instead fulfil its international obligations, including providing consular access to Jadhav and stopping the violating of his human rights.

Pakistan insists Jadhav is a serving naval officer but India has maintained he had left the service and was running a business in the Iranian port of Chabahar when he was kidnapped by Pakistani intelligence in 2016.

Jadhav, sentenced to death last year by a military court for alleged involvement in spying, also said in the video that he was grateful to the Pakistan government for arranging the meeting with his wife and mother.

But he added: “I saw fear in the eyes of my mother and my wife. Why should there be fear? Whatever has happened has happened. There shouldn’t be fear in the eyes of my mother and my wife. They’ve been threatened.

“The Indian diplomat or the Indian person who had come along with my mother was shouting on (sic) my mother the moment she stepped out, he was yelling at her,” he added.

Jadhav and his wife and mother were separated by a glass screen during the 40-minute meeting and spoke through an intercom. India has already criticised Pakistan for the treatment of the women and said Jadhav had appeared to be under considerable pressure.

Pakistan also took away the shoes of Jadhav’s wife, saying they contained a “metal chip” but India dismissed this as absurd.

This is the third video of Jadhav released by Pakistan since he was captured in March 2016. Pakistan has turned down India’s repeated requests for consular access and the meeting with his wife and mother marked the first time Jadhav spoke to someone from the Indian side.

The International Court of Justice stayed Jadhav’s execution after it was approached by India. It is expected to start hearing his case soon.

First Published: Jan 04, 2018 14:26 IST