India on Thursday hit out at Pakistan for an attempt to link the Kulbhushan Jadhav case with that of another Indian, who is still in jail and awaiting repatriation despite completion of sentence.
Ismail Samma (53), a resident of Nana Dinara village in Gujarat’s Kutch district, went missing in August 2008 as he strayed into the Pakistan side while grazing cattle. He was arrested and sentenced to five years in jail in Pakistan on espionage charge in October 2011.
After Pakistani media reports claimed that counsel for Indian High Commission, Shahnawaz Noon, had told Islamabad High Court that Deputy Indian High Commissioner Gaurav Ahluwalia wants to explain India’s stance over appointment of a lawyer for death row prisoner Jadhav and India was also concerned about the prolonged detention of Ismail, New Delhi made it clear that Noon had made the remarks without any authorisation.
At a media briefing, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said, “Pakistan is trying to link the case of Kulbhushan Jadhav with another prisoner’s case.”
He said that in a routine consular practice, Noon was selected by the Indian High Commission to appear in the case for release and repatriation of Mohammad Ismail. “However, during proceedings of the case regarding Ismail, Pakistan Attorney General raised the matter pertaining to Jadhav, though the two cases are not connected in any way,” he said.
“Mr Noon is reported to have made those statements which are not true and are in contravention of our stand in the case. He appears to have acted under pressure from the Pakistani establishment to make such statements for which he has no authorisation,” Srivastava said. Noon has misrepresented the position of the Indian High Commission, he said.
Srivastava said Noon was clearly told by the Indian High Commission that he had no authority to represent either the government of India or Jadhav.
Responding to queries on the Azad Pattan hydroelectric project on Jhelum river in PoK, Srivastava said, “We have consistently conveyed our strong protest to Pakistan on its attempts to bring material changes on Indian territories under its illegal and forcible occupation, including by constructing hydropower projects like this project.”
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