'Jadhav can seek mercy from Pak Prez'

Was provided with counsel during trial, says Basit

'Jadhav  can seek mercy from Pak Prez'

Islamabad on Wednesday stated that former Indian Navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav could seek clemency from the president of Pakistan, after exhausting legal options to challenge the death-sentence awarded to him.

Abdul Basit, Islamabad’s envoy to New Delhi, said the Pakistan government had enough evidence against Jadhav that he was working for the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), India’s external intelligence agency.

Basit was talking to a TV channel on Wednesday, two days after a military court in his country convicted Jadhav of being involved in “espionage and sabotage” to de-stabilise Pakistan and sentenced him to death.

Basit said the Pakistan army had provided Jadhav a defence counsel during his trial by a field general court marshal. Jadhav have all legal options available to challenge the death sentence in a higher court of Pakistan. He also has the option of moving a mercy petition to the president of Pakistan and seek clemency, said Islamabad’s envoy to New Delhi.

Basit’s remark indicated that Pakistan would not move fast on carrying out the death sentence awarded to Jadhav. Sources in New Delhi were of the view that Pakistan would rather want to use him for years in negotiations with India, just as it had done with Sarabjit Singh.

The death sentence, however, would cast a shadow on the recent efforts to de-escalate tension between India and Pakistan. Though relations between New Delhi and Islamabad hit a new low in 2016 after terrorists from Pakistan carried out attacks in India, both sides had been quietly moving towards creating a situation conducive for restarting the stalled dialogue.

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