The Pakistan Army on Monday sentenced to death former Indian Navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav on espionage charges. While New Delhi has rubbished allegations against Jadhav, Islamabad insisted that he has confessed to spying.
The Field General Court Martial (FGCM) sentenced Kulbhushan Jadhav to death on the charges of “espionage and sabotage activities”, a press release by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said.
Pakistan’s move has not only added to tensions between the two nations, but has also served a big blow to back channel efforts to normalise situation between the two nuclear-power neighbouring nations.
“Today, (army chief) Gen Qamer Javed Bajwa has confirmed his death sentence,” a military statement said, without stating when the execution would take place.
The news about Kulbhushan Jadhav’s death sentence was covered prominently by all Pakistani newspapers and websites. Most of the news portals have given major space to India’s strong reaction over the sentencing. Sushma Swaraj -led Foreign Ministry has described Pakistan military court’s verdict as “premeditated murder.”
“The Indian government’s attitude had stiffened immediately after the news of Kulbhushan Jadhav’s arrest became public nearly a year ago. Its attempts to “isolate” and run-down Pakistan on international fora such as the BRICS summit, the G-20 summit or the Heart of Asia in December were a few striking examples of the ascendant mood in New Delhi.”
‘Death to spy spikes tension’ highlighted how Jadhav’s sentencing has heightened tensions between India and Pakistan. The article described Jadhav as ‘high-profile Indian spy’.
“New Delhi will certainly ratchet up pressure to prevent any harm to Jadhav. It has a voice in the world that is heard – even if it may be on wrong side of the fence. Through strategic communication offensive, New Delhi will not only bring pressure upon Pakistan but also sully its image across the globe in whatever way it can,” it said.
“He (Jadhav) confessed before a magistrate and the court that he was tasked by the Indian intelligence agency to plan, coordinate and organise espionage and sabotage activities aiming to destabilise and wage war against Pakistan by impeding the efforts of law enforcement agencies for restoring peace in Balochistan and Karachi,” it said.
“For a long time now Pakistan has struggled to prove India’s involvement in Pakistan’s destabilisation. Our ambassadors have gone to various countries looking for help in that matte and showed them proof but to no avail. Now that we have made our move, which is the right thing to do, we should brace for India’s retaliation,” the website quoted Lieutenant General (retired) Talat Masood, as saying.
It also gave prominence to Pakistan defence minister Khawaja Asif’s remark.
“If India takes the matter up internationally Pakistan will defend its decision. Kulbhushan’s sentence is a warning for anyone with anti-Pakistan sentiment. The justice system will come down on people working to sabotage Pakistan with full force.”