Published On: Tue, Apr 11th, 2017

Kulbhushan Jadhav, Indian spy in Pakistan Sentenced to Death


Indian spy in PakistanA Field General Court Martial (FGCM) on Monday sentenced Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav, to death  after trial for involvement in espionage and sabotage activities in Karachi and Balochistan.

Jadhav was arrested on March 3, 2016, through a counter-intelligence operation in Balochistan’s Mashkel area for his involvement in espionage and sabotage activities against Pakistan, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said.

“The spy was tried through Field General Court Martial (FGCM) under the Pakistan Army Act (PAA) and was given death sentence. Today,  Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa confirmed his sentence “, the military’s media wing said.

The accused was appointed a defending officer as per legal requirements.

India summoned Pakistan’s High Commissioner to New Delhi  and handed over a demarche saying that if the sentence against an Indian citizen, is given without observing basic norms of law and justice,  the government and people of India will regard it as a case of premeditated murder.

India’s Ministry of External Affairs in its statement claimed that the proceedings that led to the sentence against Jadhav are farcical in the absence of any credible evidence against him.

The Indian authorities further claimed that they had repeatedly sought consular access to Jadhav. “Requests to that effect were formally made 13 times between March 25, 2016, and March 31, 2017 and was not permitted by the Pakistani authorities,” reads the demarche.

Pakistan had, however, turned down India’s request seeking consular access to Jadhav last year due to his involvement in “subversive activities” in the country.

Experts view the military’s announcement about Jadhav’s trial and prosecution as an unprecedented move and a strong message to India as well as other foreign intelligence agencies.

Jadhav’s Trial

According to the statement Jadhav was tried by the FGCM under Section 59 of the PAA and Section 3 of the official Secret Act of 1923.

Jadhav confessed before a magistrate and court that he was assigned by the Indian spy agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) to plan, coordinate and organise espionage and sabotage activities seeking to destabilise and wage war against Pakistan through impeding the efforts of law enforcement agencies for the restoration of peace in Balochistan and Karachi.

Jadhav Confessed

Jadhav’s earlier confessional statement was aired by then ISPR head Lt Gen Asim Bajwa, in which he admitted being involved in terror activities in Balochistan and Karachi.

Terming the Indian spy’s arrest a ‘big achievement’, Bajwa said at the time that Jadhav was directly handled by the RAW chief, the Indian National Security Adviser and the RAW joint secretary.

“His goal was to disrupt development of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), with Gwadar port as a prime target,” Bajwa had said, adding, “This is nothing short of state-sponsored terrorism. There can be no solid evidence of Indian interference in Pakistan than this.”

“If an intelligence or an armed forces officer of this rank is arrested in another country, it is a big achievement,” Bajwa had said, before going on to play a video of Jadhav confessing to Indian intelligence agency  RAW involvement in Balochistan separatist activities in Pakistan.

Jadhav now has got 40 days to file an appeal against the FGCM in the army’s court of appeal, according to retired Col Inamur Rahim, a military law expert.

In case the appeal court upholds the FGCM verdict, Jadhav would have the opportunity to seek mercy from the army chief and the president of Pakistan.

Simultaneously, Col Inam said, the convict could approach a high court if he felt that due process was not observed during his trial and his fundamental rights as an accused were not fulfilled.

Is Diplomacy the Solution?

Leading Indian journalist Suhasini Haidar raised the question of how the sentencing may affect Pak-India ties. “With India-Pakistan relations at their lowest, wonder if diplomacy can work. Even US-Russia were able to conduct spy swaps during the cold war,” she said.

Balochistan Home Minister Sarfaraz Bugti said that he believes the decision is fair. “There are foreign elements involved in terrorist activities in Balochistan,” he claimed.

Defence analyst Ikram Sehgal agreed with Bugti’s view, saying, “What happened today was lawful. He [Jadhav] confessed to his crime that he had people killed and after due process, his punishment should be carried out. They [India] will deny that he is a spy but Jadhav himself confessed. He gave full details of his networks in his confession as well.”

“Pakistan has sent a message to the world that terror activities will be severely punishment. Those operating against the state will face a similar fate,” Sehgal added.

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf leader Asad Umar also believes Jadhav’s sentencing is a ” good decision”.

Pak-India Tension Increases

Today’s development comes at a time when tensions between Pakistan and India run high.

The past six months have seen a war of words between officials from the Indian and Pakistani governments.

Ties between the nuclear-armed neighbours worsened after India blamed Pakistan for an attack on an Indian military camp in Uri inside India-held Kashmir on Sept 18, 2016 where around 20 Indian soldiers were killed.

India claimed that Pakistan-backed terrorists were involved in the attack and initially said that weapons recovered from them bore Pakistani markings. However, this assertion was debunked by the Indian media itself, forcing the Indian DGMO to retract the claim.

Since then, frequent episodes of firing have been reported by the Pakistan military on the Line of Control. The escalation continued when India claimed it carried out “surgical strikes” across the control line on Sept 29, claims Pakistan rejected as baseless.

Certain sections of Indian media have reported prominently that Pakistan has sentenced a former Indian naval officer to death.

They also said that Jadhav possessed an Indian passport proving his innocence as no “intelligence agency ever runs an agent in enemy territory with identity documents connecting him to the agency’s country”.

About the Author

- Zonaira joined IBEX from the first issue as a writer and later joined the editorial team. She completed her Masters’ degree in Mass Communication from Kinnaird College majoring in Film Making and Advertising. Lifestyle stories, social issues, budding entrepreneurs and fresh startups resonate and inspire her writing. She is keen on putting in perspective the latest business developments and happenings and highlighting prominent professionals belonging to all walks of business. She has worked as a content writer, editor and reporter for a number of publications. Always in transit, an avid reader and traveler, her other interests include theater, languages, religions and teaching young children creative writing.