Pak Army chief close to decision on Kulbhushan Jadhav’s mercy petition

Kulbhushan Jadhav, a former Indian Navy officer, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court after being accused of involvement in espionage and subversive activities.

world Updated: Oct 05, 2017 18:32 IST
Rezaul H Laskar
Rezaul H Laskar
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Kulbhushan Jadhav,Pakistan Army chief,Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor
File photo of former Indian Navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav, who has been sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of “espionage”. (PTI)

The Pakistan Army said on Thursday it is close to a decision on the mercy petition submitted by Kulbhushan Jadhav, the Indian national who has been sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court for alleged involvement in espionage and terrorist activities.

“Kulbhushan Jadhav’s mercy petition has come to the army chief. There is a process, everything goes through a process but I can assure that it is near finalisation and we will give you news about this very soon,” Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor, the chief military spokesman, told a news briefing.

Ghafoor did not give any more details.

A military court has already rejected Jadhav’s mercy petition. If his petition is also rejected by the army chief, Jadhav can approach the president for clemency.

The execution of Jadhav, a former Indian Navy officer, was stayed after India took the matter to the International Court of Justice in The Hague. The ICJ has said Jadhav should not be executed till it gives a final ruling in his case.

The Pakistani military said Jadhav was arrested in Balochistan in March 2016. He was accused of involvement in spying and subversive activities in Balochistan and Karachi.

India has dismissed these charges and said Jadhav was kidnapped from the Iranian port of Chabahar.

Foreign minister Khawaja Asif created a stir last month by claiming that Pakistan could have swapped Jadhav for a terrorist involved in a 2014 attack on an army school in Peshawar who he said was in the custody of Afghan authorities. Afghanistan has said it never suggested such a swap.

During the wide-ranging news briefing, Ghafoor also spoke on the situation along the Line of Control (LoC) with India, which has witnessed numerous violations of a ceasefire that was put in place in 2003.

“In the east, we have a border with India which is unsafe because of India’s inappropriate actions,” he said.

“The ceasefire violations in 2017 are considerably more in number than any other year before, with 222 civilian casualties along the LoC. However, India has also paid a price due to our response and we will continue to (respond) if it does not act with restraint,” he said.

Ghafoor described the threats from India as “perpetual”. He added, “We are a peaceful country and we do not want war with them, but we will defend ourselves and have the capability to do so.”

He also said Pakistan is talking to India to reduce tensions along the 742-km LoC. “But war is not the solution, so we are talking to them at all levels to stop this,” he said.

First Published: Oct 05, 2017 18:31 IST