Pakistan today released another video of Kulbhushan Jadhav in which he purportedly claimed that he has not been harmed in custody, prompting a strong reaction from India, which called it a “propagandistic exercise” by Islamabad that simply carried no credibility.
The hard-hitting response by India came after the Pakistan foreign ministry put out a ‘confessional video’ of Jadhav in which he claimed that he is a commissioned officer of the Indian Navy even now and also asked why India was “lying” that he was not working for an intelligence agency.
In the purported video, Jadhav said, “I have to say one thing very important here, for the Indian public, Indian government and the Indian navy, that my commission is not gone. I am a commissioned officer in the Indian navy. Why are you lying about my working for an intelligence agency?”
In a terse response, external affairs ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said,”this does not come as a surprise. Pakistan is simply continuing its practice of putting out coerced statements on video. It is time for them to realise that such propagandistic exercises simply carry no credibility.”
In the purported video, Jadhav also said, “I saw fear in her (mother’s) eyes, the Indian diplomat was shouting at my mother the moment she stepped out. I saw him shouting, yelling at her. This [meeting] was a positive gesture, so that she (mother) could be happy and I could be happy.”
However, it was not clear how Jadhav saw the diplomat shouting at his mother once she stepped out. The diplomat accompanying Jadhav’s family was India’s Deputy High Commissioner in Islamabad.
Jadhav also claimed in the video that the Pakistan government was taking care of him and not harmed him. “I said don’t worry Mummy. They (Pakistan) are taking care of me, they have not touched me…”
Bringing out the irony of the situation, Kumar said, “The absurdity of a captive under duress certifying his own welfare while mouthing allegations of his captors clearly merits no comment.”
He also said that Pakistan is best advised to fulfil its international obligations, whether it pertains to consular relations or UNSC resolutions 1267 and 1373 on terrorism, and to desist from continuing violations of human rights of an Indian national.
The video was released days after India had hit out at Pakistan for violating understandings over the Jadhav-family meet and raised questions about the Indian national’s well being.
India had also asserted that Jadhav appeared coerced and under considerable stress during the tightly-controlled interaction on December 25 at the Pakistan Foreign Office.
During the meeting, whose pictures were released by Pakistan, Jadhav was seen sitting behind a glass screen while his mother and wife sat on the other side. They spoke through an intercom device and the entire 40-minute proceedings appeared to have been recorded on video.
Pakistan alleges that Jadhav was a commander rank officer in the Indian Navy. But India says he was a former naval officer.
New Delhi also says Jadhav was kidnapped in Iran where he had legitimate business interests, and brought to Pakistan.
Pakistan on December 25 had also issued a video of Jadhav in which he was purportedly seen thanking the Pakistan government for arranging a meeting with his wife and mother.
Jadhav was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of espionage and terrorism in April, following which India moved the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in May.
A 10-member bench of the ICJ on May 18 restrained Pakistan from executing Jadhav till adjudication of the case. It is expected to hold another hearing in March or April.