Kulbhushan Jadhav, former Indian Nave officer who was kidnapped by Pakistani authorities in Iran under suspicion of being a spy, has been given death sentence by Pak military court.
Kulbhushan Jadhav's trial in Pakistani military court shrouded in the mystery of lack of proof and procedure and has created a stark contrast between judicial procedure in India and Pakistan.
Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Amir Kasab who was caught alive during 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks was given a fair and lengthy trial in India.
While, Indian citizen Jadhav was not even given consular access to communicate the allegations slapped against him by the Pakistani authorities.
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The death sentence given to Jadhav shows the difference between the judicial system in the two arch-rivals neighbouring countries - India and Pakistan. The Kasab case is an example that how India provided all legal help to a terrorist who was caught alive after 26/11 attacks, the Jadhav case is an example of how a country failed to provide any help to a person who is being called 'an Indian spy' without any solid evidence shown in court.
Here are some points which show the difference between the judicial system in India and Pakistan when it comes to fair trial:
Civil vs military court:
Pakistani citizen Ajmal Kasab was a terrorist yet he was tried in a civil court owing to the fact that he was not an official part of Pakistani military forces.
Jadhav, who is retired Indian Navy personnel and has no links with Indian Armed Forces of Indian intelligence agencies, was labelled a spy and tried in military court in Pakistan. The trials of citizens or even spies in military court during non-war times in not a norm.
Fair legal representation:
Even when Indian judiciary faced resistance from political parties and common citizens of India, it followed all legal procedure and provided Kasab a senior advocate for fair representation in the Mumbai attack case.
Kasab was allowed to pick his own lawyer.
However, Kulbhushan Jadhav was represented by a Pakistani military official and the extent to which he received impartial advice or representation is doubtful.
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Kasab was found guilty in 80 charges, including murder and waging war against India during Mumbai terror attacks, slapped on him by the trial court in May 2010, and he was sentenced to death.
Later, the Bombay High Court upheld death sentence given to Kasab by the trial court in February 2011.
In August 2012, the Supreme Court also upheld the death sentence given to Kasab in the Mumbai terror attacks case. Kasab was hanged to death on 21 November 2012 and his body was buried at Yerwada Jail in Pune.
However, Jadhav was tried in Pakistani military court without proper counsel and given death penalty under suspicion of being an Indian spy. The way Jadhav's case was handled by Pakistani authorities and he was given death penalty raises doubts over his admission of guilt.
According to Pakistani media report, Jadhav had pleaded guilty to an offence punishable by death and admitted to being an Indian spy. There are many loopholes in the details made public by the Pakistani Army after the military court's decision on Jadhav. Jadhav was carrying a valid Indian passport and visa when he was detained from Iran.
Pakistan officials refused to give Indian officials consular access to Jadhav, which was in violation of his rights outlined under Article 36(1)(c) of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations 1963.
Officials of the Indian High Commission have a right under international laws to have access to Jadhav. However, Pakistan denied this access, in turn violating the convention and breaching international law.
Whereas, Kasab was allowed to write letter to the Pakistani High Commission in India requesting help and legal aid during the trial in the Mumbai attack case. In the letter, he confirmed he and the nine slain terrorists who attacked major spots in Mumbai on November 26 were Pakistani citizens. Pakistani officials confirmed the receipt of the letter and were reported to be studying it. No further updates were given on his letter.
India's warning to Pakistan
India on Tuesday warned Pakistan that execution of the death sentence handed down to Kulbhushan Jadhav by a military court would be taken as “pre-meditated murder” and Islamabad should consider its consequences on bilateral relations.
“Let me state clearly that the government and the people of India would view very seriously the possibility that an innocent Indian citizen is facing the death sentence in Pakistan without due process and in violation of basic norms of law, justice and international relations.
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“I would caution the Pakistan government to consider the consequences for our bilateral relationship if they proceed on this matter,” Swaraj said categorically.
She said the process adopted by the Pakistani military court to award the death sentence “tells us a lot about the farcical nature of the alleged proceedings which have led to the indefensible verdict against an innocent kidnapped Indian.”
This blatant ignorance of the international law by Pakistan will not only further complicate its relationship with India but also invite the wrath of the international community.