Pakistani Defence Minister Khawaja Asif on Tuesday dismissed India’s accusations that the sentencing of Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav was a “premeditated murder”.
Hitting out at New Delhi during a Senate briefing, Asif said Pakistan had followed ‘due legal process’ in prosecuting Jadhav.
“There was nothing in the [legal] proceedings that was against the law,” the minister told lawmakers. “The trial went on for three months.”
Indian spy Jadhav was handed the death sentence on April 10 by a Field General Court Martial for his involvement in espionage and sabotage on Pakistan’s soil.
He was arrested on March 3, 2016 in a ‘counter-intelligence operation’ in Balochistan’s Mashkel area.
The accused had been provided a defending officer for his trial as per the provisions of the law, government officials repeatedly said.
Referring to the Indian response to Jadhav’s sentencing, Asif said: “They used the term ‘premeditated murder’. As a reply, all I want to say is that we have followed all the rules and regulations, and the laws of the land.”
“We have done absolutely nothing that is against the rules and regulations, but there is premeditated murder going on even today in Kashmir,” the defence minister said.
“It was premeditated murder in Gujarat. It was premeditated murder [when the] Samjhota Express [was attacked],” he said, adding that Pakistan has tried time and again to reconcile differences with India, but New Delhi has failed to cooperate.
Asif also said Pakistan will not make any concessions for elements working against the security and the stability of the country, “whether they’re operating from inside Pakistan or from outside it”.
The defence minister further said that the government is in a position to deal with such elements “with an iron fist”.
“No other country has been a target of terrorism the way Pakistan has,” Asif said, adding that there are no parallels to the successes Pakistan has made against terrorism.
“We will defend our homeland at all costs,” he added.
Earlier today, Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj assured lawmakers in her parliament that New Delhi would go “out of its way” to save Jadhav from death row in Pakistan.
Referring to Jadhav’s sentence as an “act of premeditated murder”, the minister assured parliamentarians that the government would not stop at just ensuring Jadhav has the best of lawyers to fight his case in the Supreme Court, but would “go out of the way to save him”.