foul play

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 27 Dec 2017 14:23:38

IT IS becoming obvious that India will have to approach the International Court of Justice (ICJ) with a strong bid to save Kulbhushan Jadhav held by Pakistan under charges of espionage. The manner in which the Pakistani authorities made only a mockery of the episode of meeting of Jadhav with his mother and wife in Islamabad makes it clear that the Pakistanis have decided to subvert the process of law and somehow push Jadhav to the gallows.

That is the reason why Mr. Harish Salve, Senior Counsel and India’s lawyer handling the Jadhav case at the ICJ, expressed his deepest concerns about Kulbhushan Jadhav’s mental well being. This statement makes it clear that the Pakistani authorities have subjected Jadhav to a third degree torture that has affected his mental well being. It is this aspect that has upset every Indian. 

Right from the beginning following the news that the Pakistani authorities have arrested Kulbhushan Jadhav, a former Indian Navy officer, on charges of spying, India has been suspecting a serious foul play by the Pakistanis. That foul play also got confirmation of sorts as the pictures of Jadhav’s meeting with his mother and wife were released by the Pakistani authorities. Suspicions got aroused when a red scar on Jadhav’s right ear was noticed.

Whatever conversation the Jadhavs might have had among themselves gave Advocate Harish Salve an impression that Kulbhushan Jadhav was being tortured beyond his endurance. An Indian diplomat saw the process of meeting from a distance as the Pakistanis have not allowed any consular access. This entire situation suggests that India will have to make a fresh approach to the ICJ to ensure Jadhav’s safety and well being.

Because of its strong advocacy in the case, India has been able to impress upon the ICJ the need for a re-look at the Kulbhushan Jadhav case. Its appeal to have Jadhav’s capital punishment stayed has succeeded at least partly. But more efforts are needed to be done by India so that an innocent Indian is not subjected to unnecessary torture and subsequent death sentence.

Advocate Salve has made it clear that Jadhav was not speaking his normal language but was using English, almost agreeing that he deserved whatever was being handed down to him by the Pakistani authorities. He also seemed to thank the Pakistani authorities for allowing a meeting with his family. Such exchanges were not expected when an under-trial meets with his mother and wife, Mr. Salve has inferred.

The Indian stand in the Jadhav case is clear. At the ICJ and at every other forum, India has maintained that Jadhav was kidnapped by the Pakistanis in Iran where he was pursuing his business interests after retiring from Indian Navy. It is obvious that the Pakistanis had decided to build a false case to implicate Jadhav and also India indirectly about conducting espionage operations in Pakistan. India has denied this charge vehemently and has insisted that the Pakistanis are deliberately distorting facts only to make India look like a country conducting covert operations in the neighbouring lands.

This stand has been accepted as legitimate even by the ICJ whose judges, then, asked Pakistan to delay any punishment to Jadhav and allow India a consular access and also a meeting between him and his family. Pakistan has made it appear that it has accepted the demand for a meeting among the Jadhavs on humanitarian grounds on the birth anniversary of Pakistan’s founder Barrister Mohammad Ali Jinnah. The most critical point in this episode is that the Pakistanis are trying to implicate Kulbhushan Jadhav totally wrongly. India will have to fight this out at the ICJ with a fresh approach. India has a strong case and it should not leave any stone unturned.