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India explores all options to bring back Kulbhushan Jadhav

India is exploring all options to bring Kulbhushan Jadhav back home after Pakistan’s defense minister stated that Jadhav has right to appeal over the next 60 days.

Both External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Union home minister Rajnath Singh have asserted in Parliament that this was a top priority.

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif met Army Pakistan chief Gen Bajwa on Wednesday. The meeting comes two days after the army chief had approved the execution of Jadhav after a military court sentenced him to death for “espionage and sabotage activities.” The decision continues to evoke a sharp reaction in India. Islamabad has been warned to consider the consequences on bilateral ties if Jadhav is hanged. He has been given 60 days to appeal.

India is shocked and angry over Pakistan’s verdict on Kulbhushan Jadhav. From Parliament to the streets, all are speaking in one voice. They all have lodged a strong protest against Pakistan.

Even ex-soldiers protested outside the Pakistan High Commission in Delhi. They are outraged at the manner in which a former navy officer has been treated by an enemy state. They handed over a testimony to officials of the Pakistan High Commission in Chanakyapuri.

Non-governmental organizations in Jammu also raised slogans against Pakistan and asked government to take steps to get Jadhav released.

Meanwhile, Government is trying all options to get Jadhav released. India has warned Pakistan saying if Kulbhushan Jadhav is hanged, it would have serious consequences on bilateral relations. Government also said that Pakistan’s move to condemn an innocent man is being condemned across the world.

Upon International pressure, Pakistan has said that Jadhav has 60 days to appeal against the judgment of the military court. After this, he can also present the mercy petition before the army chief and the President of Pakistan. Under Section 131 of the Pakistan Army Act, 1952, an appeal can be made against a military court order within 40 days. Meanwhile, Pakistan has also taken a local Baloch leader, Ujjar Baloch, into custody in connection with alleged espionage. The Pakistani army claims that he was assisting Jadhav in his alleged spying activities. Many exiled Baloch leaders have refused to accept Jadhav is a spy.

Meanwhile, top US experts have expressed concern over Pakistan’s decision to convict Kulbhushan Jadhav. US State Department officials say there are many irregularities like his not being provided with consular access, and the manner in which the Indian High Commission was kept in the dark about the Court martial process. Human rights organization Amnesty International has also strongly criticised Jadhav’s death sentence.

According to experts, India will increase international pressure on Pakistan. The Indian leadership can directly apply diplomatic pressure with the Pakistani leadership. Since it is a violation of the Vienna Treaty, India can approach the International Criminal Court on the matter. The issue can also be raised on UN and Human Rights forums.

Government has taken the matter very seriously and has made it clear that it is considering all the options available to get Kulbhushan Jadhav released.

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