Baloch leaders on Thursday condemned Pakistan’s death sentence to former Indian Navy officer Kulbhushan Jahdav on charges of terrorism and espionage, reported ANI. The government’s “inhuman and illegal” decision was criticised even as Pakistan High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit on Wednesday said they had “sufficient evidence” against Jadhav.
Baloch Republican Party member Ashraf Sherjan said Jadhav’s alleged connection with Balochistan was part of Pakistan’s fake propaganda against the region. “No spies can take their national ID card and work as a spy with spy agencies,” he said, adding that the sentence was illegal because the country did not have the right to award death penalty to an Indian citizen. “Pakistan’s attempts on Baloch leaders are failing now and they have now brought Kulbhushan Jadhav who is an innocent Indian citizen. So that’s why I’m requesting Prime Minister Narendra Modi and rest of the Indian leaders to save the life of Kulbhushan Jadhav.”
Balochistan’s representative at the United Nations Human Rights Council, Mehran Marri, echoed the Indian government’s stand in the matter. Marri said that it would be a case of “premeditated murder” and “extra judicial killing” if Pakistan carried out Jadhav’s death sentence. He said the Pakistani government had been doing the same to Baloch leaders for the past 70 years. “Pakistan is forgetting that Jadhav is not a Baloch, he is from India,” Marri said. “He has is got a backing of a very strong country and India will give befitting reply to Pakistan.”
External Affairs Minister Sushma on Tuesday had cautioned Pakistan against the consequences its bilateral ties with India would face if it went through with the death penalty.
In retaliation to Islamabad’s provocative move, India on Monday had decided against releasing 12 Pakistani prisoners who were to supposed be repatriated. The government said that it was not the right time to release them. Both countries follow the practice of sending back nationals lodged in each other’s jails after they complete their sentences.
After the news about the death sentence surfaced, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar summoned Basit and issued a demarche, saying the proceedings leading up to the death sentence for Jadhav were “farcical”.
Jadhav was arrested in Pakistan in March 2016. He was said to have entered Pakistan through Iran, and was accused of helping Baloch separatists. Pakistan had alleged that he was an agent of India’s Research and Analysis Wing.
The Pakistani Army had also released what they claimed was a “confessional video”. India had admitted that he was a retired Indian Navy officer, but had denied all claims that he was involved with the government in any way.
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