ISLAMABAD: Defence Minister Khawaja Mohammad Asif has ruled out immediate execution of a convicted Indian spy and said three appellate forums are available to Kulbhushan Jadhav under the law.
He said that the trial of the Indian Navy officer — who was working for India’s Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) and was arrested in March last year — lasted three-and-a-half months. The charges he faced included spying for India, working against Pakistan’s integrity, sponsoring terrorism in the country and attempting to destabilize the state.
Speaking in the Senate on Tuesday, Mr Asif claimed that Jadhav had the right to move the army’s court of appeal against his conviction within 60 days, followed by submission of mercy pleas to the army chief and the president.
However, a perusal of the Army Act, 1952 showed that under Section 131 of the act, an appeal could be moved within 40 days, and not 60 days.
Rejecting the Indian claims that Jadhav’s execution would be “pre-meditated murder”, Mr Asif said that due process of law had been followed in the case.
The minister made it clear that elements involved in terrorist activities and those conspiring against the security and integrity of Pakistan would be allowed no concession, whether they lived in the country or came from across the border.
Pakistan’s high commissioner in New Delhi had already responded to India’s reaction over Jadhav’s conviction, he said. The government, the armed forces and the people have all resolved to defend the motherland.
He said that 200,000 troops had been deployed to the country’s western border and 80,000 to the Line of Control.
The minister said that no other country had suffered as much at the hands of terrorists as Pakistan, but added that its successes against the scourge of terrorism were also matchless.