ISLAMABAD: Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz on Wednesday kicked up a controversy by stating in the Senate that government could not finalise a dossier on captured Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav because of inadequate evidence provided so far.
“It is not that material has been provided and it’s lacking in English and we are overcoming it. The [provided] material, in our view, was insufficient,” Mr Aziz told a meeting of the Senate Committee of the Whole House, in Urdu.
The committee has been set up to prepare policy guidelines in view of the emerging regional situation.
The adviser was responding to Senator Mushahid Hussain’s criticism over a delay in finalisation of the planned dossier for mobilising international opinion on Indian involvement in subversive activities in Pakistan.
The delay, Mr Hussain said, was causing embarrassment for the country.
Jadhav’s capture from Balochistan was announced in March and was flaunted by military as a “proof of Indian interference and state sponsored terrorism”. Mr Aziz said that the material provided to the Foreign Office on Yadav’s activities was mere statements.
Intelligence agencies have been investigating Yadav’s role in sponsoring terrorism in Pakistan and his local connections for close to nine months now. The intelligence agencies have been told to strengthen the evidence with a view to making it water tight and convincing for the international community.
Mr Aziz said further information had been sought. But, he was not sure when the task would be completed. “I don’t know how long they would take to give additional information,” Mr Aziz told the Senate body.
Later in the evening, the FO went into a damage limitation mode by denying that the adviser had decried the information furnished by quarters concerned as not enough.
“The statement attributed to the Adviser is absolutely incorrect. The Adviser had said that the investigations regarding the network of Kulbhushan Yadav are ongoing and the dossier shall be completed upon conclusion of the investigation,” a statement from the spokesman’s office said.Speaking at the Senate meeting, Mr Aziz defended the government’s record on fighting terrorism and said it was wrong to give the entire credit to the military in this regard.
He recalled that the political consensus developed before the launch of National Action Plan on counterterrorism was crucial and a major step.
He said the government was very clear in terms of policy, but achieving the desired results needed time.
Mr Aziz and Defence Minister Khawaja Asif earlier gave an in-camera briefing on the escalation on Line of Control.
A number of opposition senators lashed out at the government’s track record of fighting terrorism.
Senator Farhatullah Babar of the PPP said: “Non implementation of the National Action Plan is the grotesque failure of the government as the fourth schedulers among the non-state actors even take part in elections without being noticed.”
He recalled that the policy guidelines had categorically stated “no room for non-state actors” and “the soil of Pakistan not to be allowed for use by them”.
Sen Sherry Rehman also regretted that people included in the fourth schedule were contesting elections, while the institutions that were to enforce the restrictions on them seemed to suffering from paralysis.
Senator Jahanzeb Jamaldini said he was pained to see soft corner for terrorists and extremists.
Published in Dawn, December 8th, 2016