NEW YORK: A White House petition has been launched to seek the Trump Administration’s intervention to save Indian national and former naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav, 46, sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court for alleged espionage and subversive activities, a contention which has been refuted by India and has led to escalation of tension between the two countries.
The White House petition has been created anonymously by an individual who goes by the initials S.S. He or she said on ‘We the People Petition’ that the allegations against Jadhav that he was spying for India is totally false and fabricated.
However, the title of the petition has spelling errors. Here’s the title as given on the petition (sic): To save kulbhushan Jhadav from death sentence awarded by Pakistan millitry.
The petition requires at least 100,000 signatures before May 14, 2017, to qualify for a response from the Trump Administration.
“The fact that India is not given consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav clearly proves the point that the charges over which death sentence is awarded to Jadhav are false and fabricated,” it said. “In view of above, I humbly request appropriate and capable authorities to intervene in the matter and make sure that Kulbhushan Jadhav doesn’t get punished for the act which he never committed,” the petition added.
The petition has received more than 13,400 signatures since it was started on April 14.
Pakistan claims its security forces had arrested Jadhav from Balochistan province on March 3 last year after he reportedly entered from Iran. It also claimed that he was “a serving officer in the Indian Navy.” The Pakistan Army had also released a “confessional video” of Jadhav after his arrest.
However, India denied Pakistan’s contention and maintained that Jadhav was kidnapped by the Pakistan authorities. They acknowledged that Jadhav had served with the Indian Navy but denied that he has any connection with the government.
PTI reported Pakistan on Monday rejected India’s assertion that it is violating a bilateral pact by not giving access to Jadhav.
India has made 15 requests for consular access to Jadhav.
Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit told PTI in an interview that as per the bilateral pact on consular access, cases pertaining to political and security issues, will be decided on merit, indicating that consular access cannot be taken for granted.
Rejecting India’s stand that Jadhav was kidnapped from Iran, Basit said he was caught in Balochistan and was tried for “espionage and sabotage.”
He also alleged that the Indian national had been travelling to Pakistan for several years and was carrying two Indian passports, including a fake one.
On India’s position that the whole trial against was “farcical and done in a hush-hush manner,” the Pakistani envoy asserted he was tried in a military court because it was not possible to try him in a civilian court.
The High Commissioner also referred to the appeal process in Pakistan, saying Jadhav can always go to an appellate court and if the verdict is upheld then he can file a mercy petition to the Pakistan Army chief and the Pakistan Prime Minister.