ISLAMABAD: The Indian allegations coming 24 hours after the meeting of terrorist Kulbhushan Jadhav with his family are baseless, counterproductive and regrettable.
The FO spokesperson said that the success of the meeting is evident by the fact that Kulbhushan’s mother thanked Pakistan after the visit. “They vitiate the atmosphere and can distort a goodwill gesture which can be better used for mutual good. It is essential to note that the humanitarian gesture does not obviate the fact that this was not an ordinary meeting between a mother and wife with their son and husband. The reality remains that Commander Jadhav is a convicted Indian terrorist and spy responsible for multiple deaths and destruction in Pakistan.”
The meeting of the wife and mother of Commander Jadhav with him took place on December 25, 2017. The purpose of the visit was to have a meeting on humanitarian grounds, of Commander Jadhav with his wife and mother, which was successfully achieved despite all impediments. This needs to be acknowledged, if not appreciated. The meeting initially scheduled for 30 minutes was extended to 40 minutes on their request.
A comprehensive security check was essential. This was agreed between both countries, in advance, through diplomatic channels. The visitors were treated with respect and dignity. The cloth change and removal of jewelry/ornaments etc was purely for security reasons. The visitors changed into their own clothes after the meeting. All their belongings were returned to them before they left. The shoe of Commander Jadhav’s wife was retained as it did not clear the security check. This was explained to the visitors and the Indian DHC who raised no objection at any point. Commander Jadhav is a spy and a terrorist. The meeting was not allowed to be conducted in Marathi due to security reasons. There is nothing sinister in that. They spoke comfortably in English for about 40 minutes which is duly recorded (again India was pre-informed that the meeting would be recorded).
The mother was allowed to say a short prayer in Hindi/ Marathi. Many routine airport security checks for ordinary people entail removal of Christian crosses and Muslim veils. Trying to distort an agreed security check and attempting to portray it as a deliberate religious/cultural disrespect denotes bad faith and is regrettable. Pakistan formally proposed a detailed media interaction of the visitors, including with Indian media to be held in the Foreign Office. This was even shared with the Pakistani media, well beforehand.
However, this proposal was turned down by India in writing. This was respected and the Indian request was accepted. However, media has every right to ask questions from a safe distance (in line with international norms). No specific distance was agreed to, as reported in certain sections of the media. However, the situation on ground in MoFA was shown to the officers of Indian High Commission in the evening of December 24 and they consented to it. Indian media is driving its policy. Unlike India, media in Pakistan is not under any restrictions or gag orders.
“Pakistan has been totally open and transparent throughout the meeting, offered in good faith. We should focus on the bigger positive outcome and not get bogged down in details or distortion of facts,” the FO spokesperson said.