The military’s Inter-Services Public Relations Directorate on Monday announced that Indian national Kulbhushan Yadav had been sentenced to death for engaging in espionage against Pakistan.
Pakistan military personnel captured Yadav, allegedly a member of India’s Research & Analysis Wing spy agency, in a counter-intelligence operation on March 3, 2016. During interrogation, he reportedly revealed that he had been tasked by RAW to plan and coordinate activities aimed at undermining the state’s writ in Balochistan province and in Karachi.
Pakistan’s rightwing pundits hailed Yadav’s arrest and claimed it was the smoking gun that proved India was trying to destabilize Pakistan by funding Baloch dissidents and fomenting unrest in the restive province. Meanwhile, New Delhi accepted that a former navy official had been arrested in Pakistan, but denied that he had been working with RAW. They have alleged that Islamabad has fabricated Yadav’s documentation and confession, adding that Yadav had no link with the military following his retirement from service.
According to the ISPR, Yadav’s death sentence—determined after trial through the Field General Court Martial—has been confirmed by Pakistan Army chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa. The statement claims he was provided the right to legal counsel, as per legal requirements. It does not specify when Yadav could face the gallows.
In a statement, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs condemned Yadav’s sentencing. “[Yadav] was kidnapped last year from Iran and his subsequent presence in Pakistan has never been explained credibly,” it said, adding that New Delhi had been denied consular access to Yadav in violation of international law. “Requests to that effect were formally made 13 times between March 25, 2016 and March 31, 2017,” it said.
Rejecting the proceedings that led to Yadav’s sentencing as ‘farcical,’ the statement said that India would consider his execution a case of “premeditated murder.”