NEW DELHI: India poured scorn on the video confessions of an alleged spy shown by Pakistan on Tuesday, claiming the man was tutored and that he might have been abducted from Iran.

“We have seen a video released by Pakistani authorities of a former Indian naval officer, doing business in Iran, who is in Pakistani custody under unexplained circumstances,” the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement.

It said the individual’s televised statements had no basis in fact. “That the individual claims to make the statements of his own free will not only challenges credulity but clearly indicates tutoring.”

The Indian statement stressed that despite New Delhi’s request, Indian consular officials were not allowed to meet him.

“We have not been given consular access to an Indian national under detention in a foreign country, as is the accepted international practice. We are naturally concerned about his wellbeing in these circumstances.” The comment appeared to deny the man was a spy, underscoring he was an ordinary citizen eligible for consular help.

“Government categorically rejects allegations that this individual was involved in subversive activities in Pakistan at our behest. Our enquiries reveal that he apparently was being harassed while operating a legitimate business from Iran,” the statement said.

“While we probe this aspect further, his presence now in Pakistan raises questions, including the possibility of his abduction from Iran. This would become clear only if we are given consular access to him and we urge the Government of Pakistan to respond immediately to our request.”

Published in Dawn, March 30th, 2016

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