A military court in Pakistan has sentenced Kulbhushan Jadhav, allegedly an Indian spy to death. The following are the salient points of the case so far-
- How Kulbhushan Jadhav was caught remains a mystery. Pakistan alleges he was arrested near the Chaman border crossing with Iran. India believes Kulbhushan sailed into Pakistani waters accidentally and was arrested. Former German Ambassador to Pakistan, Gunter Mulack, believes that Kulbhushan was picked up by Taliban in Iran and handed over to Pakistani authorities.
- Who is Kulbhushan Jadhav remains a mystery. Pakistan alleges that Kulbhushan is a R&AW operative involved in destabilizing Balochistan by fuelling an insurgency there. India claims that Kulbhushan is a retired Naval officer who was running a small cargo business out of Chabahar, Iran.
- Also shrouded in mystery is Jadhav’s identity. He allegedly obtained a false passport under the name Patel, ostensibly to further his business interests in Chabahar, where he purchased a dhow and was involved in applying for at least one shipping activity
- What is known with certainty is that Pakistan staged a badly managed confession video, replete with cuts, edits and contradictions, where Jadhav accepted his role as an R&AW operative.
- Indian government has not been given any documentation on Jadhav’s trial so far nor has Jadhav been allowed consular access.
6. A military court in Pakistan sentenced Kulbhushan Jadhav to death on 10th April.
Understandably, India’s reaction to the sentence ranges from disbelief to outright anger. A nation with a rich tradition of ‘Atithi Devo Bhava’ for terrorists and insurgents, India is shocked that Pakistan would jeopardize the already precariously positioned, relations with India. What is also interesting to note is that Kulbhushan Jadhav’s trial was carried out in a military court and not a civil court, even though India and Pakistan are not currently in a state of war, nor is Kulbhushan Jadhav, a serving member of the Indian armed forces. Additionally, Kulbhushan was not allowed a lawyer of his own choice and was represented by a Pakistani army officer. Moreover, how was Kulbhushan so convincingly convicted when not so long ago, Sartaj Aziz, Pakistan’s National Security Advisor had stated that the government had insufficient proof against Kulbhushan Jadhav. Add to this statements by the ex-German Ambassador and Iran’s envoy to Pakistan, Mehdi Honardoost who dismissed Pakistan’s claims against Jadhav as 100% false. Evidence so far indicates that Pakistan is eager to lay the blame of its failure in managing Baloch insurgency at India’s doostep, thereby maligning India and watering down its arguments pertaining to terror encouraged by Pakistan.
So, what is the way ahead for India. One line of thought that exists, believes that India must make Pakistan pay If Kulbhushan Jadhav is harmed, India must do all it can to make Pakistan pay dearly. As Subramanian Swamy stated today, ‘If Pak hangs Jadhav then India must recognise Baluchistan as an independent country‘. A similar line seems to have been taken by the government which has stopped the repatriation of Pakistani prisoners who have completed their term. This is a fair argument. If Pakistan chooses to be deaf to reason, India must redouble its efforts to make Pakistan behave reasonably. A more logical approach would be to accept that Pakistani government exists only for display purposes and that the nation is being run effectively by the military. This line of thought encourages India to take steps to a.) Use diplomatic manouveres to make Pak military amenable to reason and b.) work consistently towards its emasculation and enfeeblement. The second action point requires a longer-term approach, unencumbered by domestic politics and electoral outcomes. It recognizes that Pakistan’s continued existence as a military run state is inimical to India’s interests. This view can also be eventually aligned to an independent Sindh/Balochistan approach.
India’s approach to handling terrorists and infiltrators and Pak-sponsored insurgents is in stark contrast to Pakistan’s blatantly illegal and unjust treatment of Indian prisoners. From Sarabjit Singh who was mauled to death in a Pakistani jail to Kirpal Singh who died under mysterious circumstances, there are many Indian prisoners languishing in Pakistani jails, hoping to come out alive and be reunited with their families. Contrast this with Ajmal Kasab who was fed with Biryani or Pak spy Sajeed Muneer, who is being attended to by Bhopal Police because Pakistan won’t accept them.
It is the duty of government of India to bring Kulbhushan Jadhav back home and make Pakistan pay for its misdemeanor. That is the only way India can shed its soft state image once and for all.