New Delhi: The harassment and verbal assault targeted towards Kulbhushan Jadhav’s family by Pakistani journalists after their meeting with the former naval officer seems to have been planned in advance by the country’s establishment.
Videos doing the rounds on social media showed Jadhav’s mother Avanti and wife Chetankul being subjected to outrageous questions by reporters when they were forced to wait for their car after the meeting. Eventually, they had to turn back inside the building as they grew tired of the attack, the footage shows.
Now, voices from within the Pakistani media have denounced the conduct of the journalists on December 25 and raised questions about the intent of heckling the 70-year-old mother of Jadhav.
Hassan Belal Zaidi, a senior correspondent with Dawn newspaper, tweeted that Pakistan’s foreign office messaged the reporters, who harassed Jadhav’s family, to thank them for a “job well done”.
There are also questions about whether all of those who were present there as journalists were really from the press, as sources close to developments said some of them may have been planted there by Pakistan’s intelligence agency, the ISI.
Reporters shouted taunts and slogans at the two women, said they were related to a killer who has blood on his hands. FO even messaged reporters to thank them for 'job well done'. Conduct unbecoming of journalists was on display that day... https://t.co/bNLczGBacb— Mighty (@mightyobvious) December 26, 2017
A furious Indian government has condemned the treatment of Jadhav’s family.
Foreign ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar said the Pakistani press was “allowed” to come close to Jadhav’s kin, harass them and hurl loaded questions at them deliberately.
“Aapke patidev ne hazaron begunah Pakistaniyo ke khoon se Holi kheli ispar kya kahengi? (Your husband played Holi with the blood of thousands of innocent Pakistanis. What do you have to say about that)?” and “apke kya jazbaat hain apne kaatil bete se milne ke baad (What do you feel after meeting your killer son?” are a sample of the kind of insensitive questions directed towards the family.
Interspersed with these questions were taunts like “qaatil ki maa” and “qaatil beta”. Another eminent Pakistani journalist, Benazir Shah, said she had “no words for the Pakistani journalists who think heckling and harassing a 70-year-old woman is the best way to express patriotism”.
No words for the Pakistani journalists who think heckling and harassing a 70-year-old woman is the best way to express patriotism. https://t.co/YOyFfyYOfF— Benazir Shah (@Benazir_Shah) December 27, 2017
The government has also accused the Pakistan government of wilfully ignoring the cultural and religious sensibilities of Jadhav’s mother and wife. Before the meeting, they were made to remove their mangalsutra, bindi and shoes, and had to change their attire. Pakistan said it was necessary because of “security implications”.
Jadhav and his mother and wife were not allowed physical contact and were seated across a glass partition. They were also not allowed to speak in their native language, Marathi, and their conversation, which took place through an intercom device, was repeatedly interrupted by the Pakistani officials present in the room.