Jadhav and due process

Pakistan must avoid treading a slippery path in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case.

For with his spying trial having been concluded last year, resulting in him being awarded the death sentence — the state apparatus is now busying itself with ressing the additional charges of terrorism and sabotage. News reports suggest that those at the helm of this country are said to be exploring the feasibility of having Jadhav indicted for “crimes against Pakistan”; in addition to the common-or-garden terrorism charges. Yet there is much truth in the old adage that warns everyone to be careful for what they wish for. After all, India might just retaliate tit-for-tat and level the same against Hafiz Saeed over his alleged role in masterminding of the Mumbai attacks. Which may or may not lead back to elements within the deep state. Not the mention the ruling party’s funding of the latter’s philanthropic outfit.

In addition, this will likely raise uncomfortable questions as to why the government of the day didn’t undertake such action against one Raymond Davis. Especially given that the country is still largely in the dark in terms of what the American contractor was doing here. But, then, the lure of US assistance was too great to resist. The point to be considered here is that spying and terror-related activities are always against one country’s interests. Which is why the Pakistani state cannot be criticised for slapping Dr Afridi — of the fake CIA polio programme infamy — with treason charges.

Thus we would like to urge caution in the Jadhav case. Admittedly, we are engaged in what is essentially asymmetric warfare with India — which ‘necessitates’ our reliance on cultivating the culture of the proxy warrior. That being said, our foremost priority must remain due process and not point-scoring; not least because doubts still remain as to whether or not his was a forced confession. Which brings us to another important issue. Needless to say, it’s about time that officials of the Pakistani state learn when to leak developments to the media and when to keep silent. In other words, knowing how to strike the balance between transparency and due process. And given that the trial before the ICJ is still ongoing — it might be a better idea to let the court deal directly with all matters in hand. After all, isn’t that what civilised nations are supposed to do?  *

Published in Daily Times, February 7th 2018.