Indian citizen and former naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav held in Pakistan is reported to be hanged under espionage charges. He was arrested in 2016 on the 3rd of March under accusations of being a RAW agent (Research and Analysis Wing). He faces charges of fueling the separatist movement in Balochistan. They claim there were sabotaging attempts by him to derail the $46-billion Economic Corridor between Pakistan and China. India has maintained innocence, denying all charges.
A resident of Hiranandani Gardens (Mumbai), Kulbhushan Jadhav comes from a family of police officers. His father is reported to have retired 9 years ago as Assistant Commissioner of Police (Mumbai). Jadhav became a businessman and travelled across the world after he took permanent retirement from the Indian Navy. His family said that he always had all necessary documents in order whenever he went abroad. They suspect he was “framed,” arrested and given the death sentence as part of a “larger political conspiracy.”
A military court in Pakistan accused Jadhav of allegedly spying for India and stoking violence in Pakistan’s Balochistan area. Pakistan claims that he was arrested in Balochistan due to illegal entry into the country, whereas India has maintained that Kulbhushan Jadhav was abducted from Iran by Pakistan. The ISPR (Inter- Services Public Relations), the publicity wing of Pakistan’s military issued a statement which read, “the spy was tried through Field General Court Martial under Pakistan Army Act and awarded the death sentence.”
S Jaishankar, Indian Foreign Secretary summoned Pakistan Envoy Abdul Basit immediately after the statement by the Pakistani Military Wing, and handed over a demarche which termed the sentencing as “premeditated murder.” India has deemed the trial as “farcical,” stating that its High Commission was not even informed about Jadhav being brought to trial. Global human rights organization Amnesty International as well as the United Nations have condemned the sentencing. Pakistan has however, defended the death sentence given to Kulbhushan Jadhav.
The incident brings to remembrance Sarabjit Singh, another Indian citizen who was arrested and accused of being a spy by Pakistan. Tragically, he succumbed to injuries he sustained after being attacked by fellow jail inmates. Earlier, in 1999, Pakistan has hanged an Indian citizen Sheikh Shamim, after accusing him of espionage. There have been several arrests in India as well of Pakistanis (accused of being ISI agents), but none have reportedly been hanged