After much ado the convicted Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav was allowed to meet his wife and mother on humanitarian grounds on Monday in Islamabad at the Foreign Ministry under a tight security setup. This gesture by the Pakistani government is being heavily scrutinised by the media, citizen and activists here in Pakistan but also by the citizenry and media in India. From the common man to the power elite, each side weighed in on the spectacle in a cacophony of opinions.
As expected, each side has their own subjective take as well as their own spin to the matter. Divided opinions can be found on the Indian side. While social media was awash with individuals bashing Pakistan’s allegedly “disrespectful” behaviour towards Jahdav’s family and highlighting how there was a physical barrier between him and his family which did not allow contact. Despite this, there were others who were highly appreciative of Pakistan’s gesture as well – including Jadhav’s family itself.
Similar is the case on the Pakistani side. While many were appreciative of the government for considering the humanitarian aspect, nationalist groups felt outraged that a family reunion was being organised for a man dubbed as India’s “face of terror” and who has admitted to committing espionage, killing several Pakistanis, and working for Research and Analysis Wing (RAW). “India doesn’t afford Kashmiris any such concessions”, was the refrain on many tongues.
Another cause of concern was also that while Pakistan was being gracious, the Indian side again indulged in a violation of the Line of Control (LOC) in Kashmir, martyring three Pakistani soldiers and injuring another – further aggravating the situation. Several human rights groups also objected to the meeting, asking why domestic “missing persons” and criminals are not shown the same respect a foreign spy was.
Ultimately however, these are all irreconcilable opinions and each can be considered “correct” if viewed from their subjective angle.
However, they also need to understand that Pakistan as a state also has an objective outlook towards the situation. Jadhav’s case is pending in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and has become and international flashpoint in many regards. For the longest time, our country has been painted as the one responsible for the growth of terrorism in the region. Jadhav and his multiple confessions are a proof of Indian activities in the region.
These are exceptional circumstances, which require special arrangements. A well-managed meeting between Jahdav and his family on humanitarian grounds was necessary in the international scheme of things – and the government did the right thing in ignoring the deafening cacophony to do what was necessary.