Camera or Chip? Paranoid Pakistan to Conduct Forensic Test on Shoes Worn by Kulbhushan Jadhav's Wife
India has accused Pakistan of violating mutual understandings on Kulbhushan Jadhav's meeting with his family and said the former Navy officer appeared coerced and under considerable stress during the tightly-controlled interaction.
Kulbhushan Jadhav’s wife (right) and mother gesture to media upon their arrival for a meeting with the imprisoned Indian Navy officer at Foreign Ministry in Islamabad on December 25, 2017. (AP Photo/Anjum Naveed)
New Delhi: Pakistan claims to have detected a "metallic substance" in the shoes worn by the wife of Kulbhushan Jadhav during their December 25 meeting and sent the footwear for forensic examination, Pakistani media reported on Wednesday.
The authorities were ascertaining whether the "metallic object" in the shoes was a camera or a recording chip, Pakistan Today quoted Foreign Office (FO) spokesperson Mohammad Faisal as saying.
A separate report in Dawn reported that the FO confirmed a "metallic substance" had been detected in Jadhav's wife's shoes that were retained by security officials prior to the meeting with the Indian death row prisoner at the Foreign Office in Islamabad.
Jadhav's wife's shoes were kept for inspection, while all other belongings, including jewellery, were returned, Faisal said, adding that she was given an alternative pair of shoes to wear after her shoes were removed.
In a statement issued on night, Pakistan made no mention of the "metallic substance" and had said that there was "something" in the shoes.
In the statement, Pakistan rejected as "baseless" India's contentions that Jadhav's wife and mother were harassed and claimed that his wife's shoes were confiscated on security grounds as there was "something" in it.
"There was something in the shoe. It is being investigated. We gave her a pair of replacement shoes. All her jewellery etc were returned after the meeting," Faisal said.
The External Affairs Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday that Pakistan went so far as to have the mangal sutra, bangles and bindi of Jadhav's mother and wife removed before they could meet him.
India also accused Pakistan of disregarding cultural and religious sensibilities of family members under the pretext of security. "This included removal of mangal sutra, bangles and bindi, as well as a change in attire that was not warranted by security," it said.
The FO said that Pakistan does not wish to indulge in a "meaningless battle of words" and categorically rejects India's baseless "allegations and twists" about attitude of authorities during Jadhav's meeting with his wife and mother.
"The Indian baseless allegations and twists, that come 24 hrs later, about the visit of the wife and mother of Commander Jadhav, a convicted terrorist and spy, who has confessed to his crimes, are categorically rejected," the statement said.
If Indian concerns were serious, the guests or the Indian DHC (Deputy High Commissioner) should have raised them during the visit with the media which was readily available, but at a safe distance as requested by India, it said.
"We do not wish to indulge in a meaningless battle of words. Our openness and transparency belie these allegations," it said.
During the December 25 meeting, whose pictures were released by Pakistan, Jadhav was seen sitting behind a glass screen while his mother and wife sat on the other side. They spoke through intercom and the entire 40-minute proceedings appeared to have been recorded on video.
Jadhav, who was captured in March last year, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court for alleged spying, an accusation that India has dismissed as concocted. New Delhi says Jadhav was kidnapped in Iran where he had legitimate business interests, and brought to Pakistan. To save Jadhav, India moved the International Court of Justice, which ordered Pakistan in May to stay his execution.
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