ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Thursday said convicted Indian spy Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav was a serial killer and consular access to him was not an automatic option.

Speaking at a news briefing here, Foreign Office Spokesperson Nafees Zakaria said according to Art IV, in all such cases as the one of Commander Kulbhushan Jadhav, the request would be decided on the basis of merit.

He said India had summoned Pakistan’s Deputy High Commissioner on consular access to Jadhav’s but this is not something new they did, it was a reaction after award of the death sentence to the Commander Kulbhushan, who is a spy and he made confessions that he was involved in terror financing, subversive and terrorist activities in Pakistan besides being a spy and indulging in espionage.

He said Pakistan and India do have a bilateral agreement on consular access but all cases have to be decided on their merits.

To a question if Prime Ministers of Pakistan and India would meet on the sidelines of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Summit in Kazakhstan, the spokespersons said: “There is nothing on the table yet, as the SCO Summit is almost two months away. Nevertheless, we have consistently maintained that meaningful, result-oriented dialogue, sustainable and constructive engagement to address all outstanding issues, particularly Kashmir dispute, is the only way forward. Hostility and escalation benefits none.”

On the Samjhauta Express terrorist attack, Zakaria said: “We did take up the issue on numerous occasions with Indian leadership as well as through diplomatic channels seeking information of proceedings of the investigations into that terrorist attack. Swami Assemanand, who was the mastermind, made a confession in 2010, if I recall correctly. He also identified Col Purohit, who was then serving Indian army officer, who was also the head of a terrorist organisation, Abhinath Bharat. He was an accomplice in the Samjhauta Express terrorist attack.”

Samjhauta terrorist attack, he said,  was not the only terrorist attack but there were many others which were identified by SM Mushrif who was Inspector General of Maharashtra and he wrote a book entitled: ‘Who Killed Karkare.’

“The book reflects as to how India has remained involved in a number of terrorist attacks, which they carried out themselves or staged in India and blamed on others, including Pakistan,” he added.

The spokesperson said the reaction from India, especially withholding the release of Pakistani prisoners, who had completed their sentences, for a spy and terrorist working against Pakistan’s national interests, was disappointing.

“Inflammatory statements emanating from India are against international norms and will only result in escalation, serving no constructive purpose. Indian reaction should be seen in the backdrop of exposure of its state involvement in perpetrating subversive and terrorist activities in Pakistan,” he said.

 Zakaria said the Indian reaction must be seen in the backdrop of its exposure of involvement in terrorism and terror-financing in Pakistan.

About former Lt. Colonel Habib Zahir’s disappearance in Nepal, Zakaria said Zahir had been missing since April 6, 2017 from Lumbini, Nepal where he went for a job interview.

“In view of the revelations about the fake emails and website he was contacted from, we cannot rule out foul play by hostile agencies in his disappearance,” he said, adding Pakistan had taken up the matter of his disappearance with the Nepalese government with the request to trace him.

The spokesperson said Pakistan and the United States will work together for peace in Afghanistan. Zakaria said the two countries were considering ways and options to ensure peace in the war-torn country.

He said during US National Security Adviser Lt. General H R McMaster’s recent visit to Pakistan, the two countries agreed to work together for peace in South Asia.

“Regional issues, including the Kashmir issue, were discussed. We highlighted the Indian excesses in held Kashmir,” he added.

Zakaria said the US was satisfied with Pakistan’s role against terrorism. “They don’t doubt our role. They acknowledge our efforts to defeat terrorism,” he said.

The spokesperson said the new US administration was reviewing its policy towards Afghanistan. “This was the first high-level visit from Trump Administration to Pakistan. It reflected the high importance the new administration attaches to its relations with Pakistan. The larger context of the meeting was to reflect on the regional situation, with particular reference to situation in Afghanistan, and how Pakistan and the US could address the situation in Afghanistan together, and bring lasting peace to the region,” he said.

The spokesperson said the question of Kashmir in the context of Pakistan-India relations was also discussed, as the situation has raised concerns across the world.

“Pakistan wishes to build its relations with the new administration and on the basis of existing solid foundation, we want to take it the next levels,” he added.

He said Daesh was not present in Pakistan but had an organization in Afghanistan which was dangerous for both the countries.

To a question, he said, the talks in Moscow were also aimed at bringing peace in Afghanistan. “We are all trying to ensure peace in Afghanistan. The Moscow talks were also aimed to achieve the same goal. Afghanistan government was also part of the dialogue,” he said.

He said the talks were about the situation in Afghanistan, and 11 countries participated in the talks including Afghanistan. “There was a consensus that all participating countries were concerned about the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan, particularly the growing presence of terrorist outfits, including Daesh in Afghanistan, and its implications on regional peace and stability,” he said.

The spokesperson said the participating countries discussed that there was urgent need to deal with the security situation in Afghanistan. “The outcome was a common concern and understanding as to how the situation in Afghanistan should be dealt with,” he added.

He said Pakistan had been stating that there were hideouts of Jamaatul Ahrar and Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan in Afghanistan from where they continue to launch attacks in Pakistan. “We have urged the Afghan government to take action against these terrorists,” he added.

To a question about Prime Minister of Azad Jammu Kashmir’s call to convince the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation to carry out economic blockade of India because of rising atrocities in held Kashmir, he said: “The OIC has always extended its unequivocal support to the Kashmiris for their right to self-determination in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions.  Recently, a high ranking delegation of Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission of OIC visited Pakistan and AJK from 27 to 29 March 2017. Regrettably, they were denied access by India in Indian occupied Kashmir. Pakistan will continue to approach the international community, including OIC and UN to bring to their notice the grave situation prevailing in Kashmir.”

The Indian brutalities, he said, had intensified, especially since July 8, 2016. “The popular and indigenous demand for their right to self-determination has further intensified in the wake of brutalities unleashed by the Indian occupation forces. India is crossing all limits,” he said.

Zakaria said Pakistan regretted North Korea’s continuous actions in violation of its international obligations under the relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions. “Pakistan expresses grave concern over the recent missile launches carried out by North Korea,” he said.

 

This news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 21-Apr-2017 here.