Published: Thu, December 28, 2017
Money | By Michele Stevens

Pakistan played cruel joke, Jadhav meeting a drama, says Sarabjit Singh's sister

Pakistan played cruel joke, Jadhav meeting a drama, says Sarabjit Singh's sister

The wife and mother of an imprisoned Indian naval officer facing the death penalty in Pakistan for espionage and sabotage were allowed to meet with him on Monday in what the Foreign Ministry said was a "humanitarian gesture". But is it going to be the first step towards a decent treatment and release and exchange of prisoner or is it merely a public relations stunt where you show the world that you have granted access and then you hang the person?

The two women looked visibly anxious and stressed before and after meeting Jadhav, and later returned to India by plane.

India feels today's meeting between Kulbhushan Jadhav and his family was as much an image-building exercise as a tacit message from Pakistan to New Delhi, and so represents a "major climbdown". The nuclear-armed countries each claim the Himalayan territory of Kashmir, and their forces regularly exchange fire there despite a 2003 cease-fire. A military court sentenced Jadhav to death in April for espionage and terrorism against Pakistan.

Jadhav had admitted to involvement in the assassination of senior superintendent of police Chaudhry Mohammed Aslam Khan in Karachi in 2014, the targeting of Frontier Works Organisation activities in Balochistan, and improvised explosive device attacks in Quetta, Turbat and other cities in Balochistan, the FO spokesperson said. Islam is the religion of peace and advocates mercy.

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Displaying a slide of the convicted spy's recent medical report, Faisal said he is in good health and the report states that his BMI and other health factors are normal.

He added that media crews will be able to cover the arrival and departure of Jadhav's wife and mother at the ministry and Pakistan has agreed to honor India's request not to allow any media interaction with the visitors, the official added. "Jadhav's actions at Indian behest have deprived many mothers of their sons and daughters".

Faisal said Pakistan had hoped to make the family members available to media but that India objected, insisting journalists be barred from speaking to them.

He said the meeting was originally scheduled to last half an hour but was extended by another 10 minutes. Jadhav has been imprisoned in a Pakistani jail ever since his arrest previous year.

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In a reaction to the move, Pakistan's relations with neighbouring India tensed, and New Delhi approached the ICJ to hear the case. He can still ask for a presidential pardon in case Bajwa turned down his mercy petition.

Earlier, media reports said that Pakistan had asked India to convey the plan of Jadhav's family at the earliest otherwise it would be hard to arrange the meeting.

"I have been treated with dignity and honour and in a very professional manner by the Pakistani authorities".

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