ISLAMABAD - Refuting Indian claim that death sentence awarded to RAW agent Kulbushan Jadhav by Pakistan was “premeditated murder”, Defence Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif on Tuesday informed the Senate that due process was followed in the trial of the serving Indian naval officer.

“We have followed all the rules and regulations in the trial of Khulbushan that continued for more than three months,” said that minister, while giving his statement in the Upper House on Pakistan’s decision to become part of the 39-nation Saudi-led Islamic military alliance.

The convict reserved the right to appeal before the chief of army staff (COAS) within 60 days against the decision and to the president of Pakistan.

The minister said that premeditated murder was in fact going on in Indian occupied Kashmir as well as was done in Indian Gujarat and in case of the Samjhota Train incident.

In a statement issued on Monday, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said that the Field General Court Martial had awarded death sentence to Khulbushan that was later confirmed by Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa.

Khulbushan Jadhav alias Hussein Mubarak Patel was arrested on March 3rd, last year  from Mashkel area of Balochistan for his involvement in espionage and sabotage activities against Pakistan.

The minister said that the convict confessed during the crime for carrying out espionage activities in Pakistan and the decision was a message that whosoever would act against the integrity of Pakistan, whether inside the country or from across the border, would be dealt with an iron hand.

The laws will come into action with full force, he said.

The minister said that Pakistan Army had a large deployment of 200,000 troops along the western border and 80,000 along the Line of Control (LoC).

He said that India even today was acting against the integrity of Pakistan on eastern and western borders through proxies.

Senate Chairman Mian Raza Rabbani remarked that the question of “pre-meditated murder” was ill conceived.

He said that due process of law was followed that might not have been followed in India.

On Pakistan’s decision to become part of the Islamic military alliance, the defence minister said that Pakistan would neither be part of any alliance that would have any aggressive intentions against any state or Islamic country nor one formed on a sectarian basis.

Clearing the air surrounding the alliance, he said that the alliance was purely against terrorism for the provision of security to Saudi Arabia and not against any country.

We have not given any such undertaking but the provision of security to Saudi Arabia was Pakistan’s commitment earlier made in 1992.

The minister said that the government abides by the resolution of the joint sitting passed in April 2015 that says that Pakistan should remain neutral in the Yemen conflict.

“If this alliance tried to become part of [any] adventure against any state, Pakistan would pull itself out of it,” he said, hoping that the alliance would restrict itself from doing that.

Asif said that Pakistan was already playing its diplomatic role in resolving the issues of Islamic countries whether it was Saudi-Iranian conflict or others.

He said that Iran was Pakistan’s brotherly country.

Again making it clearing and responding to the questions of PPP Senator Farhatullah Babar and PTI’s Mohsin Aziz, he said that Pakistan would not become part of any alliance formed on sectarian basis.

Asif said that the Muslim-majority countries were already paying the price of this sectarian rift and the biggest role in disturbing peace in Muslim-majority countries such as Syria, Yemen and Iraq was of the US interventions.

“As long as dictators toe [the] agenda of [the] US, they are its blue-eyed and in other case[s] the examples of Saddam Hussain and Basharul Assad is in front of you,” he said.

There is no question that we become part of any alliance that is formed on sectarian basis, the defence minister said.

“Pakistan is not a country of any [followers of any particular] religion or sect but it is a country of [all] Pakistanis living here,” he said.

The defence minister reminded the house that Pakistan had made an agreement in 1992 with Saudi Arabia for the provision of security to the country and Pakistan Army was still there even today.

Responding to questions, the defence minister said that the terms of reference (ToRs) of the alliance would be decided in a meeting of the defence ministers of the proposed countries being held in May in Saudi Arabia.

The alliance is against terrorism and it would translate its ToRs around this.

He also informed the house that the government had not issued any NOC to General (retired) Raheel Sharif to become head of the alliance that was a prerequisite for any ex-service man till completion of two years after his retirement.

Earlier, the ministry had issued such NOC to former DG ISI Lt General (retired) Shuja Pasha who had been working as adviser to the defence forces of the UAE.

“We have agreed to Saudi Arabia that services of Raheel Sharif will be provided to it,” he said.

Asif said that the government would inform the house when the TORs of the alliance would be decided and the NOC would be issued to Raheel Sharif.

The chairman also asked the minister to present the TORs or terms of engagement of the alliance before the parliament as soon as they were finalised.

Earlier, Farhatullah Babar questioned that if the alliance was not formed on sectarian basis then why no Shia-majority country was invited to become part of it.

He said that broadly the alliance was being perceived as a Sunni alliance.

Babar asked that if some Shia-majority country would form a similar alliance, then what would be its consequences on the foreign policy of Pakistan.

Separately, PPP staged a protest walkout from the house against the failure of the government to reply about the abduction of three close aides to former president Asif Ali Zardari.