Press Statement by Mr. Sartaj Aziz, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs on 14 April 2017
As you are aware, the death sentence of Kulbushan Jhadav and the subsequent statements from India have generated considerable discussion in the media. A number of questions have been raised regarding trial of Kulbushan Jhadav. I would like to comment on the background and the developments of this case.
Kulbushan Jhadav, who is responsible for espionage, sabotage and terrorism in Pakistan, has been tried according to the law of the land, in a fully transparent manner while preserving his rights, as per the Constitution of Pakistan. Due process has been followed while proceeding against Mr. Jhadav. All further action in this regard shall also be taken in accordance with our laws.
As is widely known, Kalbushan Jhadav alias, Hussain Mubarak Patel, a serving Commander of Indian Navy, and working with the Indian Intelligence Agency/RAW was apprehended on March 3, 2016 after he illegally crossed over into Pakistan from the Saravan border in Iran. Kulbushan Jhadav was found in possession of an Indian passport issued by Government of India on May 12, 2015 and valid until May 11, 2024. He confessed that he is a resident of Mumbai, India, still serving in the Indian Navy and his retirement is due in 2022.
He was tried by Field General Court Martial (FGCM) under section 59 of Pakistan Army Act (PAA) 1952 and Section 3 of Official Secret Act of 1923. Mr. Jhadav was provided with a legal counsel in accordance with provisions of our law. Mr. Jhadav confessed before a Magistrate and the Court that he was tasked by the Indian Intelligence Agency, RAW, to plan, coordinate and organize espionage and sabotage activities aimed at destabilizing and waging war against Pakistan. Kulbushan was involved in both espionage and terrorist/sabotage activities resulting in the loss of many lives and damage to property.
I will like to share details of some terrorist activities in which Kulbushan Jhadav was directly involved.
- He sponsored and directed IEDs and Grenade Attacks in Gawadar and Turbat.
- Directed attacks on the Radar station and civilian boats in the sea, opposite Jiwani Port.
- Funded subversive secessionist and terrorist elements through Hawala/Hundi for subverting the Pakistani youth against the country, especially in Balochistan.
- Sponsored explosions of gas pipelines and electric pylons in Sibi and Sui areas in Balochistan.
- Sponsored IED explosions in Quetta in 2015, causing massive damage to life and property.
- Sponsored attack on Hazaras in Quetta and Shia Zaireen enroute to and back from Iran.
- Abetted attacks through anti-state elements against LEAs/FC and FWO in areas of Turbat, Punjgur, Gawadar, Pasni and Jiwani during 2014-15, killing and injuring many civilians and soldiers.
The Court found Mr. Jhadav guilty. The espionage case against Kulbushan was tried by the FGCM and concluded under Pakistan Army Act Section 2 and Official Secret Act 1923. His sentence for espionage was endorsed on 10 April 2017.
The proceedings of this case went through different stages in accordance with legal requirements over a period of one year. Following is the timeline:
- Confessional Video statement of Kulbushan Jhadav, the active RAW operative – 25 March 2016
- Initial FIR in CTD Quetta – 8 April 2016
- Initial interrogation – 2 May 2016
- Detailed interrogation – 22 may 2016
- Joint Investigation Team constituted on 12 July 2016
- Confessional statement under Section 164 CrPC – 22 July 2016
- Recording of summary of evidence – 24 September 2016
- 1st proceeding – 21 September 2016
- 2nd proceeding – 19 October 2016
10. 3rd proceeding – 29 November 2016
11. 4th proceeding – 12 February 2017
12. Death sentence endorsed on 10 April 2017
From the outset, transparency was ensured in the proceedings of the trial of Commander Kulbushan Jhadav. Following steps were specifically taken to ensure transparency under the Pakistani Laws and Pakistan Army Act.
- His confessional statement was recorded before a Magistrate under Section 164 CrPC.
- The proceedings were conducted under the Law of Evidence (Qanun-e-Shahadat 1984) in the competent court
- A law qualified field officer was provided to defend him throughout the Court proceedings
- All statements of witnesses were recorded under oath, in the presence of the accused, in the court.
- Commander Kulbushan was allowed to ask questions from witnesses.
- During the trial, a fully qualified, law officer of Judge Advocate General (JAG) Branch remained a part of the Court.
- Punishment after the trial was awarded by the highest forum.
As per law, Kulbushan Jhadav has following available options
- He has the right to appeal within 40 days to an Appellate Court.
- He may lodge a mercy petition to the COAS within 60 days of the decision by the appellate court.
- He may lodge a mercy petition to the President of Pakistan within 90 days after the decision of COAS on the mercy petition.
It should be clear from these details that Kulbushan Jhadav was tried under the law of the land in a fully transparent manner. His sentence is based on credible, specific evidence proving his involvement in espionage and terrorist activities in Pakistan.
Letter of Assistance requesting specific information and access to certain key witnesses was shared with the Government of India on 23 January, 2017. There has been no response from the Indian side so far.
I would like to ask India why Kulbushan Jhadav was using a fake identity impersonating as a Muslim? Why would an innocent man possess two passports, one with a Hindu name and another with a Muslim name? Since India has no credible explanation about why their serving Naval Commander was in Balochistan, it has unleashed a flimsy propaganda campaign. Inflammatory statements and rhetoric about “pre-meditated murder” and “unrest in Balochistan”, will only result in escalation, serving no useful purpose.
We condemn the baseless allegations from India, especially in the light of the fact that it was non-cooperation and lack of Indian response to Pakistan’s request for legal assistance, due to which consular access has not been provided to Mr. Jhadav. May I mention in this context that India has not allowed consular access to many Pakistani prisoners for many years despite repeated requests.
We expect India to behave responsibly and refrain from issuing statements that will further aggravate people to people hostility. More active diplomacy is therefore needed to arrest the growing crises in India-Pakistan relations before it becomes even more serious.
In conclusion of this statement, let me re-emphasize two points:
First, all political parties are unanimous that the award of death penalty after due process and overwhelming evidence to a foreign spy, who was not only carrying out subversive activities in Pakistan but actually promoting terrorism, is the correct decision.
Second, the whole nation is solidly united against any threat to Pakistan’s security.