ISLAMABAD - Foreign Office has said hanging Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav does not suit Pakistan as his existence will keep the case alive.

Pakistan is in no hurry to execute the Indian spy as he still has his mercy appeal pending before the army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, FO spokesperson Dr Mohammed Faisal told journalists at a briefing Sunday.

He said: “Even if the army chief rejects his appeal, he can still file another appeal to President [Mamnoon Hussain]. The army chief can take a decision in minutes or years. Same is the case with the president. His [Jadhav’s] existence is better than his death for us. This will keep the case alive. Or he will vanish like Ajmal Kasab [who was executed by India for his alleged role in 2008 Mumbai attacks].”

He said the delay in Jadhav’s execution was not to bargain for former colonel Mohammed Habib’s release. “This case has nothing to do with that. We have so many other things if we wanted a bargain,” the spokesperson argued.  Faisal said Jadhav would meet his wife and mother at the Foreign Office.

“We could have fixed their meeting at a jail but since we have nothing to hide, we have asked them to comfortably meet at the Foreign Office. We have also allowed an official of the Indian High Commission to be present at the meeting but this should not be mistaken as consular access,” he added.

Faisal said India had requested Pakistan not to allow media interaction of Jadhav’s mother and wife to ensure their privacy.

“We had invited the Pakistani and Indian media for coverage in addition to the international media but India did not favour such an interaction. We have not issued visas to the Indian journalists keeping in view the Indian request [against media interaction],” he said.

Asked if Jadhav’s family could unleash propaganda in India when they were back after the meeting, Faisal said: “They can do whatever they like but we are very clear. We did all this on humanitarian grounds on the request of Jadhav’s family.”

He added: “This request [for meeting] was made by India. We accepted it but there were also some requests [by India] that were rejected [by Pakistan]. We may share details later.”

Dr Faisal said Pakistan had a strong case in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against India’s plea.

“The ICJ has not give a decision and at the most they can seek a re-trial or ask us for consular access. Our case is very strong. The staying of Jadhav’s hanging by the ICJ was not a verdict in the case but [was] meant to hear the case,” he maintained.

This month, Pakistan had rejected India’s plea for consular access to Jadhav at the ICJ, saying the facility could not be granted to a spy who had been convicted of terrorism.

In its counter-memorial submitted to the ICJ, Pakistan said the consular access under the Vienna Convention was not for terrorists but legal visitors.

Pakistan contended that Jadhav should not be considered an ordinary prisoner as he had confessed to his role in terrorism.

Jadhav was arrested last year in the Balochistan province for spying and stoking terrorism and sectarianism in the country.

Islamabad also handed over dossiers to the UN regarding Jadhav’s confessional statement.

India has challenged Jadhav’s conviction in the ICJ but Pakistan disputed the jurisdiction after the court observed that turning down the request for consular access was a denial of right.

In May, the UN’s top court ordered Pakistan to stay Jadhav’s execution.

Referring to Jadhav’s confessional statement - in which he said: “I am still the serving officer in the Indian Navy and will be due for retirement by 2022 as a commissioned officer in Indian Navy after having completed 14 years of service by 2002”, – Faisal said India needed to identify whether Jadhav was Hussain Mubarik Patel or Jadhav.

“They admit he is a former navy official but have not given as any details. If he is retired, we need details. They need to tell us what he was doing in Pakistan,” he said.

Dr Faisal said Pakistan was struggling to find common ground with the Unites States amid tension.

“We are in talks and are trying to find a common ground. We have not lost hope. However, [if all efforts fail] we can look for other options [like creating a new bloc led by Russia and China],” he said.

This came after Foreign Minister Khawaja Mohammed Asif asked the US to learn from the experiences of Pakistan in the war against terrorism.

In a tweet, Asif said that the frustration of the US could be clearly seen through statements at the United Nations General Assembly session, adding that the failure in Afghan war was the reason of frustration.

He said: “Frustrations on diplomatic front in [the] UN, and [the] war in Afghanistan, are reflected in [the] statements of [the] US administration.”

The foreign minister added: “Don’t blame or threat us, learn from our experiences in [the] war against terror, if that is our common objective.”

Last week, the US Vice President, Mike Pence, told the US troops in Bagram Air Base that the US President, Donald Trump, had “put Pakistan on notice”.

He claimed that Pakistan had “much to lose”, if it continued to “harbour criminals”.

Pence said Pakistan must stop offering “safe havens” to Taliban factions and militants.

He alleged Pakistan had provided “safe haven to the Taliban” and other terrorist groups “too often”.

The Foreign Office responded sharply saying allies do not put each other on notice.

The foreign ministry said Pence’s statement was at “variance with the extensive conversations we have had with the US administration.”

Meanwhile, the first round of China-Afghanistan-Pakistan trilateral foreign ministers’ dialogue will be held in Beijing tomorrow (December 26). The dialogue is being held on the invitation of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.  Foreign Minister Asif and Afghan Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani will lead their respective delegations at the dialogue.

 

Hanging Jadhav doesn’t suit Pakistan: FO