Kulbhushan finally gets death penalty

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  • ISPR says army chief confirms military court’s decision; Hanging will be possible after following all procedure

 

In an unprecedented move, Pakistan on Monday handed down death sentence to Indian spy network chief Kulbhushan Jhadav for his admission of involvement in sabotage activities aiming at destabilise and wage war against Pakistan’s coastal areas of Sindh and Balochistan.

“Indian agent Commander Kulbushan Sudhir Jadhav was tried by the Field General Court Martial (FGCM) under Section 59 of the Pakistan Army Act (PAA), 1952, and the Section 3 of Official Secret Act of 1923,” according to an official handout issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), media wing of the armed forces.

Kulbushan, India’s Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) agent and naval officer 41558Z, alias ‘Hussein Mubarak Patel’ was arrested on March 3, 2016, through a counter-intelligence operation from Balochistan for his involvement in espionage and sabotage activities against Pakistan,” the statement said. The spy has been tried through the military court and awarded death sentence. Today, Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa has confirmed his death sentence, the handout said.

“The court found Kulbushan guilty of all the charges. He (the agent) confessed before a magistrate and the court that he was tasked by RAW to plan, coordinate and organise espionage/sabotage activities aiming to destabilise and wage a war against Pakistan by impeding the efforts of the law enforcement agencies for restoring peace in Balochistan and Karachi,” the statement added.

Though officially there is no confirmation when Kulbushan would be hanged. However, the government sources said that the hanging would take place as soon as the procedures were completed. Under the law, the accused may submit mercy appeal with the head of the state. However, there are remote chances of any mercy as the matter pertains to terrorism through a network of spies.

During interrogation, Kulbushan had admitted of handling a network of over 400 Indian spies working across Pakistan for the acts of sabotage, espionage and terrorism. Soon after his arrest, the entire network working under the arrested spymaster had been smashed. The news made headlines as the electronic media broke the story.

CONFESSION: Last year, soon after his arrest, then ISPR head Lt Gen Asim Bajwa had aired a footage of the confessional statement of the Indian naval officer in which he admitted his involvement in terror activities in Balochistan and Karachi. Terming the Indian spy’s arrest a big achievement, he said at the time that he (the agent) was directly handled by the RAW chief, the Indian National Security Adviser and the RAW joint secretary.

“His goal was to disrupt development of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), with Gwadar Port as a special target,” the ISPR had said. “This is nothing short of state-sponsored terrorism… There can be no clearer evidence of Indian interference in Pakistan,” he said. “If an intelligence or an armed forces officer of this rank is arrested in another country, it is a big achievement,” he had said, before going on to play a video of the agent confessing to India’s anti-Pakistan activities.

TARGET: According to the investigators, Kulbushan had contacts with the banned organisations and was working on a long-term plan to disintegrate Karachi and Balochistan from Pakistan. A major component of the agent and his network was to target through acts of sabotage at the billion dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project.

Hailing from Mumbai, Kulbhushan, in his confessional video statement soon after his arrest, said that he joined Indian Defence Academy in 1987 before being commissioned in the Indian Navy in 1991. In contrast with New Delhi’s claim, he said, “I am still a serving officer in the Indian Navy and will be due for retirement in 2022.”

The on-duty spy went on to say that he commenced intelligence operations by 2002 and established a ‘small business’ in Iran’s Chabahar area in 2003 as a cover-up. He admitted to have visited Karachi undetected in 2003 and 2004. “I am basically the man for Mr Anil Kumar Gupta who is the joint secretary of RAW and his contacts in Pakistan, especially in the Baloch student organisations,” he confessed.

The operative said that he was directed to meet insurgents and conduct subversive activities with their collaboration, which resulted in the killing or injuring of Pakistani citizens. On March 25, a day after the arrest, India’s Ministry of External Affairs said that the Indian man arrested from Balochistan has no connection with the government, however, admitted that Kulbhushan was a former officer of the Indian Navy.

“He (Kulbushan) acquired ‘premature retirement’ from the Indian Navy and since then the government has nothing to do with him,” said Vikas Swarup, a spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs, requesting Pakistan to grant counsellor access to the ‘arrested Indian citizen’. The statement also said that the accused was provided with defending officer as per legal provisions.

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