There is a constant doubt in billions of minds today, if the day of Independence which led to the partition of both the nations, India and Pakistan, was of a serendipity or a scourge. Since the very first day, both the countries have been engaged in constant skirmishes over one or the other matter. Recently added chapter to this book of controversies is the one titled, ‘Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadav’. Jadav, an NDA (National Defence Academy) graduate and former Indian Navy official, is the centre of attraction these days, for all the pundits studying Indo-Pak relations.
This wildfire got its first spark with Kulbhushan Yadav being arrested from Balochistan, Pakistan, as an Indian National, on 3rd March 2016, over charges of terrorism and spying for India’s intelligence agency- RAW. The issue has only exacerbated since then. Following the tradition, both the countries are trying to denounce and vilify other’s claims.
Pakistan stated that Jadhav entered Chabahar port, Baluchistan, Iran with a visa stamped on a fake passport in the year 2003, where he got a new identity of Hussain Mubarak Patel—born in 30th August 1968, from Maharashtra, India. Officials claimed that his job was to destabilise Pakistan’s stand by igniting and strengthening a separatist movement in Balochistan and Karachi— the mission which actually began in 2013. And his subsequent arrest on 3rd March, 2016 inside Balochistan was during a counter-intelligence raid conducted by the security forces, while he was illegally trying to enter Pakistan via Iran-Pakistan border.
Retorting to the severe accusation, The Indian Ministry of External Affairs stated that Jadhav was an Indian Navy officer who retired prematurely, but he has no link with the government. According to Indian sources, Jadhav was abducted by Pakistan’s forces from the Iran–Pakistan border and Pakistan fabricated his documents and leaked them without realising there were glaring inconsistencies in the same. An Indian official even accused Pakistan of luring Jadav into Pakistan and adding that fake documents were created by the ISI, the Pakistan intelligence agency.
The biggest revelation of the whole case was when Pakistan released the accused’s confession video. Jadhav in a ‘video confession’ admitted that the Indian intelligence agency, RAW was involved in destabilising Pakistan. He also confessed that he was a serving officer of the Indian Navy and was working in Pakistan at the behest of the RAW. He acknowledged that he launched a covert operation against Pakistan from the Iranian port of Chabahar for which he used to get instructions from Research and Analysis Wing’s Joint Secretary, Anil Gupta and that he had been directing various activities in Karachi and Balochistan on instructions from RAW since 2013 and confessed about playing a role in the deteriorating law and order situation in Karachi.
However, India has strictly denies the video confession. Sources in the New Delhi rubbished the purported ‘confession’ and said it was Pakistan’s ‘propagandist ploy’ to deflect the attention from its own problem of ‘home-grown terrorism’. Union Minister Kiren Rijiju claimed, “It is a completely doctored video, fake video made by Pakistan. They are just cooking up stories and doctoring videos to defame India”. The Indian government, had also issued at least five to six note verbales to the Pakistan foreign ministry to get consular access to Jadav, but Islamabad had showed no signs of allowance, which backfires to the accusing nation. Consolidating the Indian say, the Iranian government had also said that Jadhav, who was in their country, was not engaged in any illegal activities. Furthermore, Pakistani NSA, Sartaj Aziz also told the Pakistan Senate that there was nothing beyond statements against Jadhav.
The controversial chapter took a big turn on 10th April 2017 when Jadhav was sentenced to death by a Field General Court Martial (FGCM) in Pakistan, following a confession before the magistrate and court; charges he was convicted for included spying for India, waging war against Pakistan, sponsoring terrorism, and destabilising the state. The Indian officials reacted to the conviction in the envisaged manner. Sushma Swaraj, India’s Minister of External Affairs said that there was no evidence of any wrong-doing by Jadhav and termed his sentencing an act of “premeditated murder”. Swaraj said “If Pakistan implemented the death sentence, the bilateral relations between both countries would face dire consequences“.
In an interesting twist to the case, former German ambassador to Pakistan Gunter Mulack, claimed to have information that Jadhav had been abducted by Taliban from near the Balochistan-Afghanistan border and later ‘sold’ to ISI, creating more problems for Pakistan’s claim, albeit it has refused to acknowledge any such incident.
Presently, the case has become as obfuscating as it can get. With Pakistan announcing death sentence and India retorting to it has rather become an enigmatic story as the citizens of both the nations can not determine what really the truth is. Only one man knows the truth, the man in question himself- Mr. Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadav.
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