Pakistan seeks details to prove Kulbhushan Jadhav a naval officer when captured
Pakistan has used its memorial or formal submission to the ICJ to seek information from India that would strengthen its claim that Jadhav was still in service at the time of his capture in March 2016.Updated: Feb 06, 2018 08:14 IST
Amid growing worries that it is on a sticky wicket over India’s argument at the International Court of Justice that due process was not followed in the case of Kulbhushan Jadhav, Islamabad has stepped up efforts to undermine New Delhi’s contention that the death row prisoner isn’t a serving naval officer.
India has made a strong case that Jadhav, sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court last year after secret court martial proceedings, did not get a fair trial and was at a huge disadvantage as he did not get consular access.
Experts believe this could be a crucial factor when The Hague-based court begins hearing Jadhav’s case.
In an effort to counter this issue, Pakistan has used its “memorial” or formal submission to the ICJ, submitted on December 13 last year, to seek information from India that would strengthen its claim that Jadhav was still in service at the time of his capture in March 2016.
Both Pakistan’s memorial to the ICJ and an official letter sent by the country’s Foreign Office to the external affairs ministry last year have sought details from Jadhav’s personnel file, such as his date of joining the service and his date of retirement, as proof that he is no longer on active duty, two people in Islamabad familiar with the development said on condition of anonymity.
According to them, Pakistan has sought details of Jadhav’s bank accounts and payment of his navy pension. The two people added that the Pakistani submissions also include requests for information on an Indian passport in the name of Hussein Mubarak Patel that Islamabad says Jadhav obtained in Pune in 2003 and used to travel to Iran.
One of the questions raised in the Pakistani submissions is whether this passport is genuine. The two persons said the submissions also noted that Jadhav had allegedly used this passport 18 times while travelling through key airports such as Mumbai and Dubai.
The two said that Pakistan has also asked for details of properties owned or occupied by Jadhav, including those he purportedly acquired with the alias Hussein Mubarak Patel, in Mumbai, Pune and other parts of Maharashtra.
The memorial to the ICJ and the official letter from the Foreign Office names 13 Indian officials, including National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and a former RAW chief, as the persons who were allegedly involved in recruiting and facilitating Jadhav’s activities, the two persons said. The rest of the officials on the list are intelligence operatives, bank officials and passport officials, they added.
The external affairs ministry declined to comment.
The letter sent by the Foreign Office to the external affairs ministry contains a request for access to the Indian officials to facilitate the investigation against Jadhav, the people familiar with the matter said.
India has maintained that Jadhav is a former naval officer who was kidnapped from the Iranian port of Chabahar, where he was running a business. Pakistan has turned down India’s repeated requests for consular access, saying this is not possible in the case of a person allegedly involved in espionage and subversive activities.
Observers in Islamabad believe Pakistan’s Foreign Office offered to arrange a meeting between Jadhav and his wife last year to improve the optics in the case, especially following India’s strong argument that Jadhav’s rights were repeatedly violated after his capture.