The government will do everything possible to get justice for Kulbhushan Jadhav, who has been handed down death sentence by a Pakistan military court, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said on Tuesday. While condemning the action, Singh said in the Lok Sabha that Pakistan had ignored all norms of law and justice. “The government strongly condemns it. All norms of law and justice were ignored. I want to assure the House that the government will do everything possible to get justice for Jadhav. He will get justice,” he said.
Responding to concerns expressed by members cutting across party lines, Singh said Pakistan had told the media there that Jadhav was carrying a valid Indian passport. He wondered why a spy would carry a valid passport. “This exposes Pakistan’s action,” he said. The Home Minister was also critical of Islamabad’s decision to deny New Delhi consular access to Jadhav on 13 occasions.
As soon as the House met for the day, members cutting across party lines slammed Pakistan for awarding death sentence to Jadhav. Barbs were frequently exchanged between treasury and opposition benches on the issue with the latter blaming the government for not taking up the matter strongly.
Leader of the Congress in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge wondered why the government remained silent on the issue. His remarks attracted the ire of BJP members who said the government was condemning the incident. “Without an invitation, you can attend a marriage, but you cannot meet him or talk to him on the issue,” Kharge said referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to visit Pakistan to attend the marriage of Nawaz Sharif’s daughter near Lahore.
Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said “there should be no spat on the issue. We all are equally concerned about the fate of Jadhav.” Kharge said while India granted access to Pakistan to visit Pathankot to gather evidence on terror strike, Islamabad denied counsellor access to Jadhav.
Asaduddin Owaisi (AIMIM) urged the government to use its influence for the release of the Indian citizen. Shashi Tharoor (Cong) said while India has always preferred not to internationalise its relations with Pakistan, it is time New Delhi tells the world that tomorrow one of their citizens can face a similar fate in Pakistan.
N K Premchandran (RSP), Vinayak Raut (Shiv Sena) and Saugata Roy (AITC) expressed similar sentiments. When some members wanted to react to the Home Minister’s remarks, Speaker told them that they could express their views after External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj gave a statement. “You do not have to go (to Pakistan) with an army of MPs,” she said.