Kulbhushan Jadhav: A Divisive Farce

Pakistan and India, both armed to their teeth with nuclear weapons, always remain on the precipice of a major escalation. Kulbhushan Jadhav, a former Navy officer and  alleged Indian spy in Pakistan’s restive Balochistan province is the latest episode that is dividing  public opinion.

A military court in Pakistan has sentenced Mr. Jadhav to death by hanging and it could come any day. India has taken the matter to ICJ where the public hearings on the request for the indication of provisional measures made by India in the Jadhav Case (India v. Pakistan) were concluded today. The court has reserved judgement in the case.

The judgement can be accessed here.

http://www.icj-cij.org/docket/files/168/19434.pdf

By looking at the media and social media coverage of this highly bizarre case, it appears like the two sides are not even talking about the same case!

How can Pakistan and India talk peace when they cannot even perceive reality in the same manner? It looks like both countries are using this case to divert attention from other pressing problems. India has alleged that Pakistan repeatedly ignored the Vienna Convention on consular access to deny Indian officials any meeting with Mr. Jadhav.

On the one hand Pakistan is masquerading Ehsanullah Ehsan, Taliban spokesperson and a real terrorist, as a humane innocent who needs to be heard and on the other hand denying all access to an alleged spy.   If Noreen Laghari, a 22 years old would-be suicide bomber, can be forgiven by the Pakistani State and presented as a misguided child to the world, why cant it offer a fair chance to Mr. Jadhav?

Describing Mr Jadhav’s trial as “farcical” and without a shred of evidence,  Indian Lawyer Harish Salve said he was given a lawyer when the trial was nearly over. “The basic rights of Jadhav were thrown to the winds,” he said. Pakistan has denied all these allegations.

It is important to note that Mr Jadhav, 46, was arrested in March 2016 by Pakistan and was held guilty by a military court of spying and subversive activities in Balochistan. India, on the other hand claims that Mr Jadhav was kidnapped from Iran, where he was running a business after retiring from the Navy.

This is a highly divisive case and it could potentially lead to more instability in the subcontinent. Sadly, peace and normalcy is not returning to South Asia any time soon.

Dr. Asim Yousafzai

Dr. Asim Yousafzai is a Washington DC based geo-science professional and regularly writes on technical and geo-strategic issues. He is the author of the book “Afghanistan: From Cold War to Gold War”. He is also an AP editor. He can be followed @asimusafzai

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