Kulbhushan Jadhav case: What was won or lost at The Hague

Pakistanis are wondering why, after having suffered terrorism at the hands of an Indian spy, they must now also live with the indignity of the spy being protected by the international system.

Written by Mosharraf Zaidi | Islamabad | Updated: May 20, 2017 12:49 pm
People hold posters of Kulbhushan Jadhav and light fire crackers as they celebrate the International Court of Justice order on Jadhav, in Ahmadabad. (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki)

The provisional measures announced by the International Court of Justice have been a source of much celebration in India, and much navel-gazing in Pakistan. Indians are delighted that the ICJ has asked Pakistan not to hang Kulbushan Jadhav until the case comes to a conclusion. Pakistanis are wondering why, after having suffered terrorism at the hands of an Indian spy, they must now also live with the indignity of the spy being protected by the international system.

The basic facts of the case and the politics around it remain unchanged. Pakistan will not hand over Mr Jadhav, and will be under severe pressure to bring the case to its logical conclusion: the execution of a man we believe is a spy.

India will not accept Jadhav is a spy, and will spare no effort to ensure that the conversation around Jadhav is, instead, about Pakistan’s international reputation. The final outcome of the case will likely not stray very far from the provisional measures. Actually, it will offer Pakistan a robust and unprecedented opportunity to make the case it has made gingerly and without much success thus far: that India actively promotes political violence in Pakistan, both as payback for Kashmir and Khalistan, and as a tactic to keep Pakistan employed in dealing with internal fissures.

Regardless of how well or poorly this goes for Pakistan, Jadhav is almost certainly never going to be a free man again. Neither is he likely to be offered a chance to meet representatives of the very government that Pakistan deems to have sent him over to spread violence and terror in the country. Consular access may be a human right, but it is a right that one forgoes when one enters the dark and murky world of espionage and black ops.

Could this all be a figment of Pakistani imaginations? Could Jadhav have been, as Indian government officials claim, a simple businessman? Anything is possible. But in India and in Pakistan, perceptions about the other country are deep-set and even flimsy evidence of wrong-doing is often enough to harden positions. In this cloud of confusion and doubt, strong leadership could have helped avoid all of this. India could have tried to manage the situation after Jadhav had been arrested last year, differently.

Also read | The task against a cussedly defiant Pakistan lies ahead

Instead, India went into offensive overdrive. It ramped up repression in Kashmir, and followed up with PM Modi’s August 15, 2016 speech – a broadside that was interpreted in Pakistan as an open declaration of hostility. That speech helped harden views here. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif responded at the UN General Assembly last year, extolling the virtues of young militants like Burhan Wani. The Jadhav case is an instrument of hardened and hardening positions in the national security establishments of Pakistan and India. Winning a battle like the ICJ’s provisional measures is not new: India has won many international image battles in South Asia before.

Beating up Pakistan in the arena of global public opinion has not done much for India’s assertions about what it seeks from Pakistan. It has not mattered in changing the strategic calculus on this side of the Radcliffe line. It did not prevent the terrorist attack of 26/11. It did not prevent China’s blocking of punitive measures against Pakistan at the United Nations Security Council. Despite all this, India has kept it up, appointing hardliners like Ajit Doval in key government positions. Just like so many other instances, the Jadhav fiasco spinning out of the region and into The Hague will not stop Pakistan from doing what Pakistan will do.

Also read | Pakistan in turmoil after ICJ defeat

Pakistan will happily take another black eye to its image, but it cannot and will not start handing over people it believes are high- level spies involved in terror operations, to India. India’s desperation to find a way to get consular access and meet with Mr Jadhav is being seen here as proof of the high value of his role as an agent of India. Pakistanis will not apologise for denying him consular access, nor for his continued incarceration.

Those among us in South Asia, that have campaigned for better relations between the two countries have watched with both resignation and dread as the post Pathankot relationship has plunged from one low to another. India’s media and general public are not the primary, secondary or even tertiary concerns for Pakistan’s leaders – civilian or military. So the hyperventilating celebrations in India can continue. Like the music on the Titanic, that noise does not matter. Kulbushan Jadhav will never be free again, and likely never meet an Indian again. His fate was decided when he took up a job that was meant to hurt Pakistan. A few negative headlines will not change this fundamental reality.

The enemies of peace in this region have won yet another victory – and those seeking better Pakistan-India relations have been left, once again, searching for answers and the next sliver of daylight. It may be a long wait.

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  1. S
    S.K. Express
    May 21, 2017 at 8:26 am
    This anti-Indian Express got tired of articles from Indian traitors so they started recruiting radical Paakistanis to write anti-India nonsense. Please cut the chase. Why not have Hafeez Sayeed write a daily or weekly column against India, Hindus, Americans, etc? You will surely increase your clientele in Paakistan. This newspaper should reveal its source of funding as well.
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    1. Z
      zaraq
      May 20, 2017 at 8:44 pm
      well writer has confessed more then 3 times that Jadhave was indian spy and when he accepted this job he knew the consequences. India is not talking to stan to improve bilateral talks saying terrorism must be stopped.. terrorism in india is created by india which india exploits not to talk on Kashmir and other key issues and here india has been exposed when it serving navy officer has been caught along with his 2 passports, in one of his passports his name is Mubarak Patel a Muslim name an old tactic by spies to hide their iden y and appear with new iden y. if ICJ wanted to know the merits of the case stan will present all evidences against Jadhav which will not only expose Jadhav but also India that exports terrorism in neighboring countries.
      Reply
      1. G
        Graham
        May 20, 2017 at 5:33 pm
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        Reply
        1. S
          Sam Geno
          May 20, 2017 at 4:09 pm
          Enemies of peace talk exactly like you . Present your so called evidence of spying at ICJ
          Reply
          1. S
            Sudhir
            May 20, 2017 at 3:51 pm
            Well articulated viewpoint but logically incorrect. Jadhav's arrest had no relation on Kashmir or his summary trial will not help you in Baluchistan or PoK where India has nothing to do with it.
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            1. F
              FromPak
              May 20, 2017 at 5:17 pm
              The fact that India is engaged in Baluchistan in response to Pak support for Kashmiris makes Kulbhushan's issue connected with Kashmir
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              1. J
                Junaid Aslam
                May 23, 2017 at 9:54 pm
                Narendra Modi announces from Delhi's Red Fort that Balochistan separatist leaders thanked him for his support. Half a year later stan catches Kulbhushan Jadhav in Balochistan, and based on the intelligence he spills, stan goes on to bust over 400 Indian cells and agents all over its territory. Kulbhushan's case has everything to do with Indian medd in Balochistan.
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                Awadh Jha
                May 20, 2017 at 3:35 pm
                It is quite likely that Kulbhushan might have already been executed. stan's continued denial and author's suggestion that Jadhav can not see anybody from India also makes tthis possibility strong, as India suggested about the military court order "pre-meditated murder". Life of a person, be it a spy, can not be so important when the diplomatic stakes are high. Spies are there even in stan embassy and for that matter any embassy the world over. But, spirs act as per the wishes of the master like a soldier fighting for his country. The mutilation of the body of a soldier as well as executing a spy is simply violation of rules of war. And let's not forget, stan is giving a thousand bleed to India as a revenge for Liberation war of Bangladesh. They are doing this by proxy war by inciting the Kashmiri muslim youth indoctrinating them in Islamic Jehaad. So, the war will continue unless and untill the Jehadi thought process is eliminated. Let's wait and see what happens.
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                  Prashant Deshkar
                  May 20, 2017 at 3:22 pm
                  This column does nothing more than reiterating the story that the stani army has been feeding the stani media. A German Ambassador had already leaked the information last year that Jadhav was kidnapped from Iran last year. The only proof that stan has been providing is Jadhav's confession, which he gave 6 months after military detention. Even Arnold would have given a tutored confession after 6 months of military detention and third degree torture :). The only reason that stan has been refusing consular access is because if it gives that, it is afraid that Jadhav would spill the beans on how he was kidnapped from Iran and tortured into giving this tutored confession.
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                    rameshnk
                    May 20, 2017 at 2:53 pm
                    This guy is a typical Porki journalist. He seems to be blissfully unaware of the games his politcos , army and ISI play. He thinks of arrest of Jadhav is such a simple story. Only Porkis can beleicve Tall stories put up by shemeless Porkis. The cl amnd culture of Porkis can be made outat the recent instance of Kasb. Porkis as is usual denied that Kasb belonged to Porkistan. Even after so many years where does the case lie in stan? A Kangarro state what justice system the porkis have? There is no need of better relations with POrkistan. Let it rot in own selfmade soup. Let them patronize terrosrits. Let Porkistan the heaven of terrorists.
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                    1. S
                      S B
                      May 20, 2017 at 2:52 pm
                      Why allowing a 3rd grade columnist with super-biased view from a Terrorist country to spew venom??? He is busy blaming India for filthy, recalcitrant terror-action, at behest of China etc. A BEGGAR-country like PAK must be annihilated at any cost. They are stooge of China, licking their boot is s only foreign policy.
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                        manu
                        May 20, 2017 at 2:17 pm
                        it's just that when you accuse India and Jadhav of something then you must give them a fair chance to reply, according to generally accepted practice which fair and transparent. Instead you made the allegation and you yourself trumpeting all over the world. India gave this chance even to Ajmal Kasab.Nothing matters in Pak, everything is pro India,bought by India or has Indian lobby. ICJ verdict may not be binding on Pak but it is a vindication of India's stance by a qualified and independent body. Pak can do whatever it wants and thatsit has done for last 70 years.
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                          Junaid Aslam
                          May 23, 2017 at 10:00 pm
                          1. For years India stonewalled stan investigators' request for access to Ajmal Kasab. Then promptly hanged him right when a stani judicial commission was coming to meet him. 2. Ajmal Kasab's lawyer was murdered under mysterious cir stances. 3. ICJ is a political body that rules on politics rather than law. It is also a schizophrenic body if you see the contradiction in its ru s between Pak & Ind in 1999 and today. 4. India had the option of fighting Jadhav's case in the stani military court, or if you don't trust that court, it could appeal to the President of stan to pardon him or commute his sentence (It's happened with past Indian spies Kashmir Singh and Surjeet Singh). 5. stan did communicate with India to explain the evidence against Jadhav. No reply gotten.
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                        2. M
                          manu
                          May 20, 2017 at 2:04 pm
                          Spying is an activity which is illegal under rule of a state but it is not considered illegitimate or unethical among nations. Spies have existed for centuries kings, emperors and military generals have used them from time immemorial. stan has spies in India and vice versa and it is an open secrete. Once a spy is captured his cover is blow and he is no more a danger, no point in hanging them. It only shows insecurity and desparation of Pak army. They have been trumpeting him all over their media, sometimes they call him a spy sometimes a terrorist. They should check their own records and see how many Indian spies they have captured before. They will find plenty of examples. Why so much hoopla over Jadhav?
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                            Junaid Aslam
                            May 23, 2017 at 10:03 pm
                            He wasn't a mere spy. A spy merely obtains secret information and passes it on to his government. Kulbhushan was a terrorist saboteur who's staged terrorism in stan, he was fomenting an armed insurrection in the country and shed blood. That's why he can't be spared. His execution is not about any stani insecurities or desperation.
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                              Junaid Aslam
                              May 23, 2017 at 10:06 pm
                              It was based on the intelligence he provided that stan busted over 400 other Indian cells and agents all across its territory. stan's captured lots of both Indian spies as well as ordinary Indian citizens in the past, but Kulbhushan is the only one for whom India went to the ICJ. stan concludes that's because he was a hugely important intelligence et for India.
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                              Parth Garg
                              May 20, 2017 at 1:54 pm
                              Now stan will take every other issue before ICJ. Indeed, by going to the ICJ we have opened up a Pandora’s box,
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                              1. M
                                manu
                                May 20, 2017 at 1:37 pm
                                few questions, is he a spy or a terrorist? everything that is being said about Jahdhav -his "fair trial", his "confession"has anyone seen it except for the people who want to hang him? is India asking for Jadhav realeas or a fair trial? If they don't want to give the acussed and his country a fair chance to respond then they might as well have killed him when the captured him why create a hoopla just to malign India.
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                                  s s nair
                                  May 20, 2017 at 1:12 pm
                                  Nothing. For survival of Modi, the issue should be kept alive.
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                                    rameshnk
                                    May 20, 2017 at 2:56 pm
                                    Mr.Nair disgraceful cooment. I doubt you are Indian. If you wrere you would not have made such a stupid comment. It shows your poor mental status. Shame on you.
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