Following is the text
of the External Affairs Minister's Statement in Rajya Sabha on case of
Shri Kulbhushan Jadhav, Indian Citizen, awarded death sentence by a
Pakistani military court (April 11, 2017)
Hon’ble Deputy Chairman Sir,
1. I rise to share my concern with the House regarding the report that
an Indian citizen, Shri Kulbhushan Jadhav, has been awarded a death
sentence by a Pakistani military court martial on concocted charges, I
repeat on concocted charges.
2. I would like to inform the House that Shri Jadhav was doing business
in Iran and was kidnapped and taken to Pakistan. The exact circumstances
are unclear and can only be ascertained if we have consular access to
him. Accordingly, from the time his abduction was known, our High
Commission in Islamabad has continuously pressed Pakistani authorities
for such access. Although this is provided for by international law and
is deemed a norm in international relations, the Government of Pakistan
did not permit it. That itself should tell us much about the strength of
the case against Shri Jadhav. Hon’ble Members would also recall that a
senior Pakistani leader has himself expressed doubts about the adequacy
of evidence in this case.
3. Deputy Chairman Sir, earlier this year, the Pakistan Government
sought our assistance to obtain evidence and other materials for the
investigation process. In doing so, they levelled ridiculous charges
against senior Indian officials who had no connection to this issue.
Thereafter, they linked providing consular access to our acceptance of
their position. Nevertheless, in the hope that some forward movement
could be made, our response was constructive. We pointed out that
consular access to Shri Jadhav would be an essential pre-requisite in
order to verify the facts and understand the circumstances of his
presence in Pakistan.
4. Given this exchange, it is extraordinary that yesterday, a decision
is suddenly announced awarding a death sentence in this case when
previous exchanges with India itself underlines the insufficiency of
evidence. To make matters even more absurd, three hours after the death
sentence was announced, the Indian High Commission received an official
communication from the Foreign Ministry of Pakistan reiterating the
Pakistani proposal for conditional consular access. That tells us a lot
about the farcical nature of the alleged proceedings which have led to
an indefensible verdict against an innocent kidnapped Indian.
5. Our position on this matter is clear. There is no evidence of
wrongdoing by Shri Jadhav. If anything, he is the victim of a plan that
seeks to cast aspersions on India to deflect international attention
from Pakistan’s well-known record of sponsoring and supporting
terrorism. Under these circumstances, we have no choice but to regard
the sentence, if carried out, as an act of pre-meditated murder.
6. Deputy Chairman Sir, yesterday, Foreign Secretary conveyed our
position to the High Commissioner of Pakistan. Let me state clearly that
the Government and people of India would view very seriously the
possibility that an innocent Indian citizen is facing death sentence in
Pakistan without due process and in violation of basic norms of law,
justice and international relations. I would caution the Pakistan
Government to consider the consequences for our bilateral relationship
if they proceed on this matter.
7. Deputy Chairman Sir, I would also like to tell the House that I have
been in touch with the parents of Shri Jadhav and we are extending our
fullest support to them in this difficult situation. A strong sense of
solidarity expressed by the House will give them more courage at this