Pakistan is mulling issuing a visa to the mother of Indian spy Khulbushan Jadhav on compassionate grounds. Pakistan has not given this issue even a second thought. And so plays out contradicting stories from the media of both countries.
Our Foreign Office has chosen to link the Jadhav question to the lengthy visa regime facing Pakistanis wanting to hop across the border for medical treatment. Which, actually, is fair enough. Yet going as far as to term the aforementioned a threat to regional peace and security enters the realm of political opportunism. Thus possibly explaining why India is having none of it. Especially given that the personal letter penned by the External Affairs minister to the Sartjaz Aziz has reportedly gone unacknowledged.
To both sides, we say: enough is enough. How much longer will the two citizenries have to endure this media-politics, this point-scoring by other names?
Pakistan would do well to tread very carefully. Already its overt use of the death penalty is under review at the United Nations. The concern here is that this has prompted the country’s apparent U-turn. Meaning that once the spotlight fades as the country gets down to the snail-paced business regarding certain recommendations to hopefully render it less trigger and more happy — the Pakistani government will revert to form in the name of its National Action Plan.
The Jadhav visa issue is particularly sensitive. Pakistan came under immense fire at home and abroad when a military court awarded the Indian spook the death penalty. The International Court of Justice has since stayed the execution order. Yet even this was insufficient to arrest this country’s hubris when it came to untying the hangman’s noose.
We urge our government to do the decent thing and not to reject the visa request. And for once to embrace playing the role of a regional player that respects human rights while battling the menace of terrorism. Such chances don’t come along too often. *
Published in Daily Times, July 15th , 2017.