India's demand for acquittal, release, and return of Jadhav 'childish', says Chaudhry

20 Feb 2019

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Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry addressing a press conference in Islamabad on February 20, 2019. — DawnNewsTV
Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry addressing a press conference in Islamabad on February 20, 2019. — DawnNewsTV

Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry on Wednesday said that it was juvenile of India to expect the acquittal, release, and return of its spy Kulbhushan Jadhav, terming their arguments in the ongoing hearing at the International Court of Justice "childish pleas".

"These are nothing but childish pleas. And, like Khawar Qureshi [Islamabad's counsel] said yesterday: India is perched precariously on a flimsy wall of lies," he said during a press conference in Islamabad.

He highlighted that the answers to certain questions posed by Pakistan were not submitted by India to the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

The first of these was a clarification sought over the retirement of Jadhav.

"When did Kulbhushan Jadhav actually retire? If he retired at the age of 47, then you must show us a record of the same and explain why he retired before the usual age of retirement," demanded Chaudhry.

The second question pertains to the spy's passport, found by British investigators to be authentic.

"British investigators have confirmed that the passport in his possession is authentic. So the second question posed by Islamabad's counsel was that why was Jadhav found to have an authentic Indian passport when he was arrested? Of course, an authentic Indian passport could not have been provided by us; he must have had it made from India," he said.

"India claims that Jadhav was abducted from the Iranian port city of Chabahar and brought to Pakistan. It is a nine-hour journey from Chabahar to Quetta. Our question is, if he travelled that distance, did you propose an investigation to Iran? Did you ask them if he disappeared from there, and how did it happen?" he inquired.

Know more: Who is Kulbhushan Jadhav?

"We believe the brilliant manner in which Pakistan has presented its arguments in the ICJ, based on those arguments, a decision will be taken on merit," Chaudhry said, adding that "Pakistan's case is very strong."

He said that Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf's parliamentary party today also condemned the aggression being shown by India after the Pulawama incident.

"We believe that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is going into the election after five years and so he should run for elections based on his performance instead of taking up the policy of an anti-Pakistan stance, which we consider completely childish," he remarked.

"You have been in power for five years. You should highlight what you did for the people of India and how well you have delivered on the promises made to the people," Chaudhry reasoned.

The information minister said that the government is very satisfied with the splendid way the foreign ministry has tackled this challenge.

"Today India is standing alone in the whole world. Whether it is the EU, Islamic countries ... even Trump has given a statement on the issue. All these statements prove that the entire world is not accepting India's claim," said Chaudhry.

"We don't want to give further rise to tensions. We want to see them reduced and want to bring normalisation. This is why the prime minister categorically made an offer to India yesterday to investigate the matter if they so desire or if they want to hold negotiations, we are ready for negotiations. And this is the way issues are dealt with between countries."

He said that it was completely infantile statement to say that "we will deal with things through aggression".

"And if there is aggression, then of course our army is fully capable of responding and it has set an example in its continued fight against terrorism and in its bravery, which the whole world acknowledges," the information minister declared.

"The people of Pakistan stand behind their government, their country and their army and, God willing, no one will ever be able to harm us in any way," he added resolutely.

He said that the narrative being pushed by BJP and some extremist parties, the way Muslims in India are being targeted after the Pulwama incident, and especially the way Kashmiris are being targeted, are causes of extreme concern for Pakistan.

"International human rights bodies should look into this immediately. The prime minister has today activated human rights organisations and our foreign minister has already taken action on the Kashmir issue. We will continue to raise our voice on the matter and it now deserves to be looked at with greater scrutiny and seriousness," he said.

"We do not think any incident can be used as the foundation for inciting violence among the people. This is a highly inappropriate response to the matter," Chaudhry added.

NAB's actions its own

The information minister said that the prime minister had also addressed several issues on the domestic front today.

"Whatever action NAB has taken today, it has taken independently. It does not consult with the government in any way. Our own senior minister from Punjab was arrested and today they have arrested the Sindh Assembly speaker."

"All of this has nothing to do with the government. We do believe that the accountability process should be kept separate; it would be inappropriate to mix it with politics."

He said, therefore, it was highly important that the accountability process remain independent and should run freely.

"This is why during all of NAB's operations, even if they are against our own people, we have always supported the rule of law," the information minister said.

He said that the government expects the same kind of support from all political parties.

"If they want to see Pakistan progress, they will have to support the rule of law," Chaudhry said in conclusion to his briefing.