The Dangerous Games Pakistan Plays – Kulbhushan Jadhav

Krishna Baalu

Not a day goes by without having to hear painful news from across our borders from Pakistan. 3 days ago, Pakistan’s Military court sentenced former Indian Navy officer Kulbushan Jadhav (alias Hussain Mubarak Patel) to death. Pakistan alleged Jadhav to be a R&AW agent. The Pakistan Army had arrested Jadhav in March, 2016 on charges of spying. Let’s go through quickly how Pakistan trapped the former Indian Navy officer, only to cover-up their gross human rights abuse in Baluchistan.

By then, Pakistan was under the International radar for its severe rights abuse in Baluchistan. Pakistan was desperately looking for an alibi to cover up its crimes in Baluchistan. The alibi then should be a credible one, believable in the International round table. So, the ISI devised a deceptive plan to implicate India for the Baluchistan unrest. As part of this conspiracy, the ISI had abducted Kulbhushan Jadhav from Iran and framed him as a R&AW agent. In the backdrop of the prevalent political unrest in Baluchistan, and frictions between Indian and Pakistan, a charge on R&AW for its role in Balochistan unrest with a live human spy held captive, may sound credible.

Pakistan then claimed that Kulbhushan Jadhav is a serving Commander Rank Officer in the Indian Navy and an undercover R&AW agent, who was entrusted with the job of subversive activities in Baluchistan. However, India has denied and confirmed the fact that he took a voluntary retirement. Indian government further revealed that Pakistan’s ISI abducted Kulbhushan Jadhav from Iran.

However, Pakistan has alleged that he entered Pakistan holding an Indian Passport endorsed with an Iranian Visa. India pooh-poohed this as absurd. An Indian “spy” would never travel on an Indian Passport with an Indian address on it.

On 3rd March, 2016, Pakistan reportedly “arrested” Kulbhushan Jadhav over an illegal entry into it via Iran. They arrested him near the Pakistan-Iran border in the region of Chaman. This is what the reports claimed. However, Pakistan Army’s spokesperson, Gen Qamar Bajwa, said that they had picked Kulbhushan Jadhav up from Saravan. Saravan is over 800 km away from Chaman. Indian experts were quick in questioning  the incoherence in these statements.

He was reportedly arrested on 3rd March 2016, at Iran-Pakistan border. However, the Pakistan Army confirmed the arrest only on 26th March 2016. According to a report on India Today:

“India’s intelligence agencies suspect that a group named Jaishul Adil is responsible for the kidnapping of Indian businessman Kulbhushan Jadhav from the Iran-Pakistan border. Jaishul Adil is an extremist Sunni radical group, which is headed by Salahuddin Farooqui. This Salafist-jihadist group owes its allegiance to ISIS”


Pakistan later released this video recording of his purported “confession”:

Based on this fake “confession”, the Military court has awarded him a death penalty on 10th April, 2017. This video is full of glaring loopholes and incoherent statements. Prima Facie, it appears to be a doctored video. The few mixed up things what I noticed in this video:

  1. At the very outset, Kulbhushan Jadhav looks fresh. He was cleanly shaven, and his full sleeve shirt was buttoned at cuffs. He appeared like a Bollywood hero as if he has just come out of the sets to chat with a journalist. If you want to know what a real confession looks like, watch the video of David Coleman Headley’s confession.
  2. Jadhav was actually smiling at 2-3 places. Unbelievable for man who was under arrest on enemy territory.
  3. He was not tense, but cheerful throughout. Chances are that he was hoodwinked to believe that he was only made to read a write-up in a ‘rehearsal’ manner.
  4. He spoke fluent English, and almost read his entire biography, but never sounded like he was making a confessional statement.
  5. He says ‘the city of Karachi’, ‘the city of Mumbai’ and likewise, as if he had it rehearsed. Any accused/imprisoned person would have simply said ‘Karachi and Mumbai’ instead.
  6. Language experts will tell you that the use of passive voices is highly unlikely while recording confessional statements. Jadhav used phrases like ‘undetected assignments and visits to Karachi’ & ‘having done some basic assignments within India’. These words seem more out of a written script rather than from the heart.
  7. Kulbhushan Jadhav first said he visited Karachi in 2003 and 2004. Then he claims to have been picked up by R&AW in 2013. The question is, under which Indian agency was he working in 2003-04 before his stint with R&AW in 2013?
  8. Later he said he was actively working for creating ‘unrest’ in Balochistan. Listen what he said ‘these activities are of criminal nature and anti-national terrorist (activities) …” An Indian accused on a foreign land would never use words like ‘anti-national’, ‘criminal nature’, etc. It is clear that the Pakistani Army officers wrote these lines and forced him to read them.

The depressing part of the entire episode was the rejection of India’s plea for a consular access to Kulbushan Jadhav. Though retired, he was a top commanding Naval officer, not an ordinary civilian.

By the above one can conclude with ease, this is an awfully doctored childish video. Another aspect of worry is India’s laxity in pursuing a consular access to the Jadhav. Some quarters in the Government are of the opinion that the Government was not keen then. Naturally, Pakistan has taken advantage of the Indian government’s lackadaisical attitude.

India was then actively assisting Iran in its Chabahar port project. Obviously, it must have caused eyesore for Pakistan as Pakistan was then putting efforts to develop its own Gwadar Port in Balochistan.

Pakistan is playing a barbaric ritual game. This is a master game plan by Pakistan’s ISI in giving a death penalty on Kulbhushan Jadhav based on fabricated evidence. Pakistan’s judicial procedure, like ours, is snail-paced. However, their hurry in executing the order raises further suspicion.

Pakistan must be hoping to arm-twist India by keeping Kulbhushan Jadhav in prison with a Damocles sword hanging over his head, even if it is for a short period. On the contrary, by hanging Jadhav, it is possible that India’s image can be permanently tarnished in an irreversible way in the international community.