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Kulbhushan Jadhav Has Right to Appeal in 60 Days: Pak Defence Min
20 April 2017, 07:04 | Erica Roy
Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj speaking in Lok Sabha in New Delhi
India has reacted strongly to the death sentence handed to former Indian Navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav by Pakistan.
Asserting that India's position on this matter is clear, Swaraj said there is no evidence of wrongdoing by Jadhav.
"One option before India is to ask [U.S.] President Trump to prevail upon the Pakistan military to release Mr. Jadhav. Under these circumstances, we have no choice but to regard the sentence, if carried out, as an act of pre-meditated murder", Swaraj said.
Lawmakers from opposition Congress and other parties asked the government to put worldwide pressure on Pakistan to free Jadhav and return him to India.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh claimed Jadhav, who was engaged in a business in Iran, was abducted by Pakistani security agencies in March 2016 and branded a spy.
About his fake passport and identity, Baglay said, "We can not ascertain anything since we did not have any consular access".
"Pakistan has not shared with us till now any details of Kulbhushan Jadhav's location or how he is", Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Gopal Bagley told reporters here.
According to the Pakistan defence minister, the trial of Jadhav lasted three-and-a-half months.
The Foreign Secretary said, Jadhav was kidnapped a year ago from Iran and his subsequent presence in Pakistan has never been explained credibly. He said the Pakistani government had been doing the same to Baloch leaders for the past 70 years.
Diplomats also said that India woud have to deliberate upon what kind of response would be befitting if Pakistan executed Mr. Jadhav.
India has long maintained - which was reiterated again in Thursday's media briefing - that Jadhav is a retired naval officer and an Indian citizen, but has categorically denied he was involved in cloak-and-dagger activities. The issue has become yet another point of contention among the two countries.
Jadhav was on Monday awarded death sentence by a Pakistani military court on charges of being an undercover RAW agent.
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