ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Wednesday that an Indian man convicted of spying and sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court has refused to file a review petition against the verdict.
Kulbhushan Jadhav was arrested in March 2016 in Pakistan’s southwestern Balochistan province, where there is a long-running conflict between security forces and separatists. The following year he was convicted of espionage and planning sabotage, and sentenced to death.
India insists Jadhav is innocent, and last year the World Court ordered Pakistan to review the decision to impose the death penalty.
“On June 17, 2020 commander Jadhav was invited to file a petition for review and reconsideration of his sentence and conviction,” said Zahid Hafeez, Pakistan’s director general for South Asia at the ministry, during a joint press conference with Additional Attorney General Ahmad Irfan.
“Pakistan also offered to assist in legal representation for Jadhav. Exercising his legal rights, Cmdr. Jadhav refused to file a petition for review and reconsideration of his sentence. He instead preferred to follow up on his pending mercy petition.”
Hafeez said that Pakistan has repeatedly invited the High Commission of India to file a petition at Islamabad High Court in connection with the death penalty handed to Jadhav, and that he hopes India will cooperate with the Pakistani courts. He added that Pakistan has offered consular access to Jadhav for a second time, in addition to a meeting with his wife and father. Jadhav’s wife and mother were granted permission to visit him in 2017, eight months after he was sentenced to death.
According to Pakistani authorities, Jadhav confessed that he was ordered by India’s intelligence service to carry out espionage and sabotage in Balochistan, a province that is part of the $60 billion, Chinese-backed Belt and Road Initiative, a multinational development project.
In a transcript released by Pakistan of Jadhav’s confession, the former naval officer is quoted as saying the disruption of Chinese-funded projects was a main goal of his activities.