New Delhi: Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav has reportedly filed a mercy petition before the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) in Pakistan and has allegedly "admitted his involvement in espionage".
According to a statement by Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), media wing of Pakistan Army, Jadhav’s earlier plea to the military appellate court was rejected, forcing him to appeal before the COAS.
"Commander Jadhav has admitted his involvement in espionage, terrorist and subversive activities in Pakistan and expressed remorse at the resultant loss of many precious innocent lives and extensive damage to property due to his actions. Seeking forgiveness for his actions, he has requested the COAS to spare his life on compassionate grounds," reads the mercy plea, according to the ISPR statement.
If Jadhav's mercy plea is rejected by Pakistani COAS, then the last resort available to him would be to appeal to the President of Pakistan. The press release highlights what it claims to be is the second confessional video of Jadhav, where he is seen "accepting his acts of terrorism and espionage."
The statement from ISPR claimed that the video has been made public so that “world comes to know about what has India done and continues to do against Pakistan.”
India, however, has categorically rubbished Pakistan's claims. A highly placed source in the government told CNN-News18, “This video is completely false and fabricated. Jadhav is in the custody of Pakistan from last one year and it’s very easy for any Pakistani agency to manufacture this kind of video".
Shockingly, the ISPR statement has come a day after Pakistan High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit hinted at a softening stance, saying there was a scope for rethinking in the case.
In an interview to the English daily, The Hindu, Basit claimed that Jadhav had some steps to go through an appeal process in Pakistan.
The High Commissioner said he would be able to appeal for clemency first to Army Chief General Qamar Bajwa and President Mamnoon Husain if his appeal was rejected by the Court of Appeals. "So there is room for a rethink there."
According to the transcript of the alleged second confessional video, Jadhav stated that, “The RAW officials had started sniffing that the Modi government will be in power by 2014. So I was inducted and my services were handed over to RAW. The aim was to see that all the activities around the Mekran coast, Karachi and Balochistan Interior. Turbat and Quetta were to be organised and nicely coordinated.”
Jadhav has allegedly also admitted his intention to stoke violence in Balochistan and has said that his "basic purpose of visit to Pakistan was to establish and meet the leadership of Baloch sub-nationals, the BLA or the BRA and establish and infiltrate around 30 to 40 RAW operative along the Mekran coast for Operations along with Baloch sub-nationals and miscreants or terrorists."
On April 18, Jadhav was sentenced to death by a federal military court in Pakistan for allegedly spying and stoking violence in Balochistan. This had drawn an angry response from India, saying that if Jadhav was sentenced then it would be a "premeditated murder."
Pakistan has failed to give India consular access to Jadhav as per international lawsm despite repeated attempts.
Thereafter, India had approached the International Court of Justice on the basis of Vienna Convention of Consular Relations and argued that India be allowed consular access to Jadhav.
Harish Salve, appearing for India, had made a case that Pakistan had violated VCCR as it had denied India the right to consular access. Although, the case at the World Court is still at the stage of accepting written submissions from both parties, but the ICJ in its initial order in May had ruled that Pakistan could not execute Jadhav till the pendency of this plea.
Back in Pakistan, there have been petitions in the Supreme Court of Pakistan urging the government to execute Jadhav as the country was not bound by International Law in this case.