Who is Kulbhushan Jadhav?

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Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav, an Indian national and a retired Indian Navy officer was convicted of conducting “subversive activities” for the Indian government in Pakistan and has been sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on Monday. Pakistani authorities had reportedly arrested Jadhav in what they termed as a counter intelligence operation in Mashkal, Balochistan on 3 March, 2016. He has remained in Pakistan’s custody ever since.

The decision has come at a time when the relations between the two neighbours are running through a particularly rough patch, with the two nations alleging sabotage and infiltration bids on each other.

As more details of the so called trial process are yet to filter in, here is all that we know about Jadhav so far.

The curious case of Kulbhushan Jadhav has seen many twists and turns within a short span of one year since his arrest. While the Pakistani side has repeatedly alleged that Jadhav is a Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) “spy” in Pakistan’s restive Balochistan province, India had categorically denied Islamabad’s charges.

Another curious aspect of the case has been an alleged confessional video by Jadhav, widely circulated in the Pakistani media, wherein he had “confessed to his sabotage activities” and detailed his “networks with Indian spy agency RAW”. Islamabad, in the presser has also claimed that it was on the basis of this confessional video, and “irrefutable evidence” that he was convicted and sentenced to death. The video, which was quoted by several media organisation, including The New York Times, is no longer available on YouTube.

“He 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 war against Pakistan by impeding the efforts of law enforcement agencies for restoring peace in Balochistan and Karachi,” the ISPR said.

According to a transcript of this alleged confession as reported in Dawn, Jadhav had claimed to be an “active navy officer” and conceded that his “purpose was to hold meetings with Baloch insurgents and carry out activities with their collaboration.” The footage apparently also shows him saying that he had set up a small business in Chabahar in Iran which facilitated him to achieve undetected existence and visits to Karachi in 2003 and 2004.

“These activities have been of criminal nature, leading to killing of or maiming of Pakistani citizens. I realised during this process that RAW is involved in some activities related to the Baloch liberation movement within Pakistan and the region around it,” the so called confession further reads

The Indian government has, although categorically denied these allegations, it has said it was not in a position to clarify the circumstances in which Jadhav reached Pakistan as despite repeated attempts Pakistan had denied India consular access.

“Circumstances of his presence in Pakistan remain unclear, particularly because we have not been provided consular access despite our repeated requests,” IANS quoted a government source as saying.

India had also requested for Jadhav’s extradition but in March this year, Aziz told the country’s Upper House that Islamabad won’t extradite Jadhav.

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