PAKISTAN ON Thursday released another video of former Indian Navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav, 47, who is currently on death row in Pakistan, in which he claimed that he was not ill-treated in custody. Jadhav also echoed Islamabad’s point of view and reiterated that he was a serving Indian Navy officer.
Hours after Pakistan’s foreign ministry released the video, New Delhi said Islamabad’s “propagandistic exercises” have “no credibility”, and said it was “absurd” that a “captive under duress is certifying his own welfare”.
In the video released on Thursday — the second since the December 25 meeting between Jadhav and his wife, Chetna, and mother, Avanti — Jadhav alleged that the “Indian diplomat” who accompanied his family had “yelled” at his mother.
Talking of his meeting with his wife and mother, Jadhav said: “I said, ‘don’t worry Mummy, they (Pakistan) are taking care of me, they have not touched me’. She believed me once she saw me personally… I saw fear in her (mother’s) eyes, the Indian diplomat was shouting at my mother the moment she stepped out. I saw him shouting, yelling at her. This (meeting) was a positive gesture, so that she (my mother) could be happy and I could be happy.”
However, it was not clear how Jadhav saw the diplomat shouting at his mother. The Indian Deputy High Commissioner in Islamabad, J P Singh, who accompanied Jadhav’s wife and mother, remained outside the meeting area, separated by a glass partition, where he could hardly hear their conversation.
“I have to say one very important thing here, for the Indian public, Indian government and the Indian Navy, that my commission is not gone. I am a commissioned officer in the Indian Navy. Why are you lying about me working for an intelligence agency,” said Jadhav in the video.
While Pakistan has alleged that Jadhav is a serving Navy officer, and addresses him as Commander — his rank in the Indian Navy — in official communication and public statements, India has maintained he is a retired Indian Navy officer who was pursuing private business in Chabahar and was abducted from Iran.
Reacting to the video, MEA’s official spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said, “This does not come as a surprise. Pakistan is simply continuing its practice of putting out coerced statements on video. It is time for them to realise that such propagandistic exercises simply carry no credibility. The absurdity of a captive under duress certifying his own welfare while mouthing allegations of his captors clearly merits no comment. Pakistan is best advised to fulfil its international obligations, whether it pertains to consular relations or UNSC resolutions 1267 and 1373 on terrorism and to desist from continuing violations of human rights of an Indian national.”
India also reiterated its demand for consular access to Jadhav — the point of contention at the International Court of Justice at The Hague.
The video comes after India accused Pakistan of violating the understanding between the two countries on the meeting, and raised questions about Jadhav’s well-being. India had said that Jadhav appeared “coerced” and under “considerable stress” during the meeting with his family at the Pakistan Foreign Office on December 25.
In photographs of the meeting, released by Pakistan, Jadhav was seen sitting behind a glass screen while his mother and wife sat on the other side. They spoke through a telephone, and the entire 40-minute proceedings appeared to have been recorded on video.
The same day, Islamabad had released a video of Jadhav in which he thanked the Pakistani government for arranging the meeting.
Jadhav was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of espionage and terrorism in April, following which India moved the ICJ in May. A 10-member bench of the ICJ on May 18 restrained Pakistan from executing Jadhav till adjudication of the case. Both sides have filed their memorials (written arguments) in the last four months.