India cautions Pakistan against executing Jadhav

Consider consequences to ties: Delhi

India cautions Pakistan against executing Jadhav

India on Tuesday cautioned Pakistan against executing former Indian Navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav.

With politicians across party lines uniting to slam Pakistan, New Delhi made it clear to Islamabad that Jadhav’s execution would have serious consequences for the bilateral relations between the two neighbours.

“I would caution the Pakistan government to consider the consequences for our bilateral relationship if they proceed on this matter (to execute Jadhav),” External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj told the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha after members in both Houses of Parliament condemned the death sentence awarded to Jadhav.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh, too, told the Lok Sabha that the government would do whatever it takes to ensure that Jadhav gets justice.

Sushma said that the government and the people of India would “view very seriously the possibility that an innocent Indian citizen” was “facing death sentence in Pakistan without due process and in violation of basic norms of law, justice and international relations”.

She also said that the Pakistan army or the government had no evidence of wrongdoing by Jadhav. “If anything, he is the victim of a plan that seeks to cast aspersions on India to deflect international attention from Pakistan’s well-known record of sponsoring and supporting terrorism,” she said. “We have no choice but to regard the sentence, if carried out, as an act of pre-meditated murder.”

Leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge, raised the issue as soon as the House met for the day. He questioned the government over its silence.

“Without an invitation, you can attend a marriage, but you cannot meet him (Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif) or talk to him on the issue,” said Kharge, taking a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his surprise visit to Lahore on December 25, 2015, to attend the wedding celebration of Sharif's granddaughter.

His remark prompted protests from some BJP MPs who pointed out that the government had condemned the death sentence awarded to Jadhav. Speaker Sumitra Mahajan asked MPs not to have any spat on the issue. She allowed an impromptu discussion on the issue, before starting the proceedings of the Question Hour.

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