Indian sentenced to death in Pakistan for spying ‘refused to file review’

Former Indian navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav meets his wife and mother at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs building in Islamabad on Dec. 25, 2017. (AP/File)
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Updated 08 July 2020

Indian sentenced to death in Pakistan for spying ‘refused to file review’

  • Former naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav was arrested in Balochistan in March 2016 and convicted the following year
  • The World Court has ordered Pakistan to review the decision to impose the death penalty in the case

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.

Sri Lankan leader appoints Cabinet, state ministers

Updated 13 August 2020

Sri Lankan leader appoints Cabinet, state ministers

  • Spotlight on economy, security as 67 officials take oath in palace ceremony

COLOMBO: Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa administered the oath of office to 28 new Cabinet ministers and 39 state ministers on Wednesday during a swearing-in ceremony at the Kandy Royal Palace, a week after the Aug. 5 general elections.

“The Cabinet has been formed in a pragmatic and a realistic manner to implement the national program. Special attention was paid to national security, economic development, infrastructure, education, health and sports,” a Presidential Secretariat statement said.

While President Rajapaksa retained the defense portfolio, his brother, Namal Rajapaksa — the 34-year-old son of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa — was named minister for youth and sports.

Several senior politicians, including former president Maithripala Sirisena, were left out of the new Cabinet.

The ninth parliament is set to meet on Aug. 20.

Only two members from minority communities, Fisheries Minister Douglas Devananda and Justice Minister Ali Sabry, were appointed from the Tamil and Muslim communities, respectively.

“I’m delighted to get this portfolio in recognition of my services to the nation, particularly to the legal field,” Sabry said.

He is the second Muslim justice minister to assume office after Rauff Hakeem of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress.

The Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) party, led by PM Rajapaksa, polled 6,853,690, or 59 percent of votes, and secured a total of 145 seats in parliament, including 17 of the National List seats.

Sabry said government efforts to limit the coronavirus pandemic had “impressed the nation enough to vote them into power.”

Lawyer Razik Zarook said: “It’s a great victory for the Muslim community. The era of mistrust and suspicion is over, and the foundation is laid to build the bridges of friendship and amity.”

However, international political lobbyist Muheed Jeeran told Arab News that though the Cabinet is promising, it is “full of confusion.”

“Sabry’s appointment has disappointed the nationalist group who want to implement one nation, one law,” he said.

“But it is a joyful moment for Muslims who supported the SLPP. However, it will be difficult for Sabry as justice minister. Will he become the wooden handle of the axe to chop the tree of traditional Muslim laws as per the nationalist agenda, or will he stand for Muslim rights?”