Pakistan and India are once again on very unsavory diplomatic terms. Indian spy Kulbhushan Yadav, taken into custody by Pakistani agencies in March 2016 in Balochistan, was awarded the death sentence today. He had admitted before the court that he worked for the Indian intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW). He was involved in a number of clandestine activities to create instability in Karachi and Balochistan areas. During the trial he was provided the services of a defending officer, as per law.
India responded to this verdict by calling Pakistan's High Commissioner Mr. Abdul Basit to the Ministry of External Affairs and gave him a demarche saying that the court proceedings that led to the death sentence of Jadhav were “farcical” and people of India would consider it as premeditated murder’. It also said that the ministry had “repeatedly sought” consular access to Jadhav. “Requests to that effect were formally made 13 times between March 25, 2016 and March 31, 2017. This was not permitted by the Pakistani authorities.”
As tensions rise between the two countries over this issue, analysts look at the issue from their lens.
Ex-Foreign Minister Sardar Asif Ahmed Ali spoke to The Nation and shared his thoughts on this latest development between the two states. “Every state gives capital punishment to spies so Pakistani courts have done exactly what they were supposed to do. But this is a testing time for the government as it would build pressure on Pakistan. It’s not easy to implement these sentences.”
Regarding India’s reaction he said, “Chances are very high of India getting hold of a Pakistani spy and putting the same charges on him. Lt Col Habib is one case that we can look at as it would build pressure on Pakistan. There are chances that Pakistan will exchange Kulbhushan for Lt Col Habib or some other spy.”
Lieutenant General Ghulam Mustafa (Retired), said Pakistan has taken the right step and as now there is peace in Balochistan and Karachi the desired message has been sent across.
“It was very surprising when India asked for diplomatic or legal access, as usually spies are left in out the cold. No one owns them but India owned Yadav. But it should not be ignored that Lt Col Habib was kidnapped in a very cunning way. India must be aware of it that the trial was heading towards its conclusion, so they looped in Lt Col. Habib and will try bargaining with Pakistan now or create troubles for us.”
According to the General, the positive side of Yadav’s arrest is India’s involvement in Pakistan especially Balochistan has been presented at every forum to prove Pakistan’s point.
Taking the academics perspective, The Nation talked to Dr. Iram Khalid, Professor, Political Science Department University of the Punjab. She said, Kulbhushan has been given a fair trial, but implications have to be seen.
"India has already protested to Pakistan but international pressure may also be brought in. How Pakistan handles it has to be seen. It is time Pakistan comes forward with proofs before the concerned people to stay strong.”
She predicted that India will try to take revenge for this sentence as can be seen historically. “It is in their mindset to react. Pakistan should make all agencies and foreign offices ready to respond. Even media should be involved to present Pakistan’s perspective, as this is the first case in India-Pakistan history, where a spy has been awarded death sentence.”
Dr Iram shed light on Modi government’s mindset. “India is showing an extremist mind since the Modi government came to power. They are capable of doing anything in our border areas. But India is not in a position to escalate tensions on the border, as Yadav was their Naval officer and they have accepted it.”
Prof Shamim Akhtar says “Rash actions should not be taken between nations. If they take hold of our spy and sentence him to death what good would that be? Such tensions can escalate into something horrible and may result into a nuclear war too. There will be no India, no Kashmir or Pakistan, what good would it be?”
He believes that the military would not carry out the execution, saying that it would be a bargaining tactic for spy agents in Indian custody.