ISLAMABAD: Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav has appealed to Pakistan’s powerful army chief to spare his life, the neighbouring country’s military said on Thursday, more than two months after the former naval officer was sentenced to death on charges of espionage.
Jadhav, 46, filed a mercy petition before army chief General Qamar Bajwa seeking forgiveness for his actions, the military’s media wing, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), said in a statement.
“He has requested the chief of army staff to spare his life on compassionate grounds,” it added.
The development comes weeks after the International Court of Justice (ICJ) admitted India’s plea and barred Islamabad from carrying out the sentence on Jadhav till its final order.
India’s external affairs ministry responded to Pakistan’s claim by saying India would pursue Jadhav’s matter in The Hague-based World Court and that “manufactured facts cannot alter the reality.”
“The developments bring out once again the lack of transparency and farcical nature of proceedings against Mr Jadhav on concocted charges, continued violation of his legal and consular rights and an attempt to introduce prejudice in the proceedings in the International Court of Justice (ICJ),” Gopal Baglay, ministry of external affairs (MEA) spokesperson, said.
The ISPR claimed Jadhav has allegedly admitted to his involvement in espionage, terrorist and subversive activities in Pakistan, and expressed remorse at the loss of innocent lives and extensive damage to property due to his actions.
It also released what it said was a confessional video of Jadhav, the second since his alleged arrest from restive Balochistan province on March 3 last year. India says Jadhav was kidnapped from Iran where he had business interests after retiring from the navy.
If his appeal is rejected, Jadhav has the option of petitioning Pakistan president. Islamabad says it will not hang Jadhav till all his legal options are exhausted.
External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj had earlier said if the sentence is carried out, India will consider it “an act of premeditated murder”. She had also warned Pakistan of consequences “for our bilateral relationship”.
New Delhi had questioned the trial by a military court in complete secrecy and accused Islamabad of denying consular access to Jadhav despite more than 13 appeals.
In his latest “confession”, which was allegedly shot in April this year, Jadhav is heard speaking about two of his senior officers in the Research & Analysis Wing (R&AW), India’s external intelligence agency.
Jadhav, wearing a dark striped shirt, appears to be speaking to another person who is not shown. The Indian national looks at the camera only at the last few seconds of the 10-minute video.
Besides other subversive activities, Jadhav said he was also assigned to disrupt the disruptions the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a Beijing-sponsored trade link that New Delhi has been opposing for infringing on India’s territory.
The CPEC passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, an area India claims as its.
The Pakistan army said it released the video “so that the world should know what India has done and continues to do against Pakistan”.
India denies Pakistan’s charges of helping Baloch insurgents.