As Pakistan stiffened its stance on the death sentence its Field General Court Martial handed out to Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav in the wake of threats by officials in New Delhi that the move would carry severe repercussions for Islamabad, there are mounting suspicions that hostile agencies are behind the recent abduction of a retired Pakistani serviceman in Nepal. On Thursday, the corps commanders agreed during a meeting at the army GHQ that there would be no concessions made in Jadhav’s death penalty because the man was convicted of serious offences against the state of Pakistan.
The Foreign Office has also made it clear that there is irrefutable evidence against Jadhav and his role in terrorist activities as well as financing those activities on the soil of Pakistan. For a man who was initially disowned by his own countrymen, Jadhav has suddenly become somewhat of a cause celebre. Why else would 13 requests for consular access be made by the Indian diplomatic mission here if there was no connection between Jadhav and his handlers. FO spokesman Nafees Zakaria has explained that though New Delhi and Islamabad have a bilateral agreement on consular access it is Pakistan’s prerogative to refuse the same in the name of Article VI of the accord.
Aggravating already fraught relations between India and Pakistan is the appearance of wild speculation in the Indian media about the alleged link between Jadhav’s case and the disappearance of Pakistani ex-serviceman Habib Zahir. Indian media outlets have claimed that Zahir had been part of the team that captured Jadhav. The truth, however, is that Zahir retired from military service several years before Jhadav’s arrest. What is becoming increasingly clear is that the Research and Analysis Wing or some such hostile agency may have entrapped him and kept him in its custody for leverage in the Jadhav case. Instead of relying on legal and diplomatic measures, New Delhi appears to be working on some hidden fronts as usual.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 15th, 2017.