Swaraj statement in Parliament on Jadhav tomorrow

RSTV Bureau
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in Rajya Sabha

File photo of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in Rajya Sabha.

The government will make a statement in Parliament on Thursday, on the treatment meted out to the family members of Kulbhushan Jadhav by Pakistan.

In the Lok Sabha, during the Zero Hour, members of various political parties, including the Congress, Shiv Sena, Trinamool Congress and AIADMK, strongly protested against the way Jadhav’s family members were treated by Pakistani authorities when they had gone there to meet Jadhav, who is imprisoned by Pakistan.

Jadhav, a former Indian naval officer, was arrested by Pakistan in March 2016 for alleged spying, an accusation that India has dismissed as concocted.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who was present in the House when the uproar tokk place, said a statement on the issue would be made on Thursday.

Congress leader in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge criticised the treatment meted out to the family in Islamabad and said that Jadhav should be brought back to Inida.

Shiv Sena’s Arvind Sawant also raised the issue and said India should not keep silent in the matter.

Describing Pakistan as “hypocritical”, Trinamool Congress leader Saugata Roy said the incident should be criticised and demanded that Swaraj should speak on the issue.

Condemning the incident, AIADMK MP, M Thambidurai said asking a woman to remove her ‘mangal sutra’ is an insult to the country.

The meeting between Jadhav and his mother and wife took place on December 25 at the Pakistani Foreign Office in Islamabad after repeated requests by India for family access.

Post the meeting, India’s Ministry of External Affairs did a press conference where it claimed that Pakistan violated the mutual understanding on Jadhav’s meeting with family. India alleged taht Pakistan tried to further the false narrative about Jadhav and that the India national appeared coerced and under considerable stress during the tightly-controlled interaction.

Pakistan alleges that Jadhav is an Indian spy, who was arrested by Pakistani security forces from its restive Balochistan province on March 3 2016, after he reportedly entered from Iran. But India maintains that Jadhav was kidnapped from Iran where he had business interests after retiring from the Indian Navy.

Jadhav, who was arrested by Pakistan in March last year, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of espionage and terrorism. India then moved the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which halted his execution pending the final verdict.

(With inputs from agencies)