Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit, indicating a softening of stance towards RAW agent Kulbhushan Jadhav, has said that there is ‘room for rethink’ in the issue, and confirmed that Pakistan will not carry out his death sentence until the hearing in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) is over.
“We would like this process to be over quickly, but until [it does], we are committed,” he told The Hindu in an interview about India-Pakistan relations during his tenure which is due to end next month.
The case pertains to the death sentence awarded by a military court in April to Jadhav for his involvement in spying and subversive activities in Pakistan.
The high commissioner said Jadhav would be able to appeal for clemency first to army chief Gen Qamar Bajwa, and later to President Mamnoon Husain if his appeal was rejected by the Court of Appeals.
“There is a process that is ongoing, and if Jadhav’s appeal were rejected [by the court], that would be the time for the army chief or the president to reconsider the sentence against him.
“He has been tried, he has been convicted, and he has the right to appeal. If that is rejected, then he has the right to submit an application for clemency to the army chief, and if he denies it, then to the president,” he said. “So there is room for a rethink there,” Basit added.
Speaking about the other trial, being watched closely in India, on Lashkar-e-Taiba chief Hafiz Saeed’s detention, Basit said the government was ‘trying its best’ to keep Saeed under (house) arrest and several organisations he represents were under ‘observation’ for now.
When asked how Pakistan can resume talks with India, he said, “We in Pakistan strongly feel that talks and preconditions do not go together.”