The dirty game of deploying spies in enemy states dates back to ancient history of mankind, but conducting terrorist activities and running a racket of terrorists is not a quite old concept. Pakistan and India have a long history of arresting and trying ‘spies’. Besides waging wars and creating problems for Pakistan by all means, India has been sending spies in Pakistan for espionage and terrorist activities since the early days of Pakistan. Many of them were arrested in Pakistan and had to face charges in Pakistani Courts. They were sentenced to death in most of cases but it is astonishing that India never requested International Court of Justice (ICJ) to intervene for their acquittal. India launched campaigns for their release but Its main focus for their release remained Pakistan. It is the only case of, last year arrested Indian spy cum terrorist, Kulbhushan Jadhav in which India has approached ICJ. Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj has affirmed that India will use its all means to get back Kulbhushan Jadhav.
A few of Indian citizens previously arrested on espinage charges in Pakistan were Sarabjit Singh, Kashmir Singh, Ravindra Kaushik and Sheikh Shamim. All were sentenced to death but Sheikh Shamim was the only spy that was hanged by the Pakistani authorities in 1999. Sarabjit Singh was fatally assaulted on April 26, 2013, by two fellow prison inmates in Kot Lakhpat jail. Kaushik was incarcerated for 16 years and died in 2001 while imprisoned in Multan Jail after contracting pulmonary tuberculosis. Kashmir Singh was lucky enough to get pardoned by then President General Musharraf after spending 35 years in jail. On his return to India he confessed publicly that he was a RAW operative and was on spying mission in Pakistan. Even Indian National Security Adviser Ajit Kumar Doval has publicly confessed that he worked as spy and stayed in Lahore, Pakistan for seven years.
It is worthy to be noted that none of the previously arrested Indian spies was bestowed by such high level of support from India as compared with Kulbhushan Jadhav. One reason may be those previously arrested spies were foot soldiers in fact, and according to military norms, foot soldiers are always dispensable. And Kulbhushan Jadhav is a serving Commander rank officer of Indian Navy, so his rank makes him indispensable or at least high value asset.
Another reason may be that his confessional statements may cause humiliation for India if Foreign Ministry of Pakistan starts projecting his confessions internationally, though it seems impossible at least in near future under the current leadership of Pakistan.
In history arrested spies are released on some huge terms and conditions. They are never gifted back to their country for nothing. There is difference in policies for arrested civilians, soldiers, spies and terrorists. The toughest stance is usually adopted for terrorists, then for spies.
An arrested spy is usually exchanged for some same level spy or military official but terrorists are rarely exchanged. In past, even Soviet Union and USA have swapped spies and arrested military officials. On February 10, 1962, American spy pilot Francis Gary Powers was released by the Soviets in exchange for Soviet Colonel Rudolf Abel, a senior KGB spy who was caught in the United States five years earlier. Here it seems as if India is not in possession of any high value official that can be used as a bargaining chip for Kulbhushan Jadhav.
Another delusional dilemma with India is that while making Foreign Policy it thinks its might comparable to great powers of world like USA or Russia. That’s why India is unable to extract Jadhav in similar fashion as USA got their CIA spy Raymond Davis in 2011. India is just unable to get Jadhav freed by simply putting pressure on Pakistan like USA.
Obviously, Indians will be considering military options for the release of their captured spy but again Indian Army can’t do things similar to US Army. Firstly India was dying for consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav and now Sushma Swaraj lambasted Pakistani counterpart, Sartaj Aziz, for not acknowledging her personal letter in which she has requested to grant a Pakistani visa for Kulbhushan Jadhav’s mother, Avantika Jadhav, who wants to meet her son in Pakistan. From a security point of view, in this era of modern technology, any person visiting Jadhav can be helpful in finding the location of Jadhav by means of implanted GPS microchips in body. So the evacuation of Jadhav by military operation is out of the question in the current scenario.
On 10th April, Pakistan announced that Kulbhushun Jadhav has been tried through Field General Court Martial (FGCM) under Pakistan Army Act (PAA) and awarded death sentence. Pakistani Army Chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa has confirmed death sentence awarded by FGCM. India has contacted International Court of Justice regarding Jadhav. In a hearing of the case on May 18, a 10-member bench of the ICJ restrained Pakistan from executing Jadhav. The Hague-based International Court of Justice (ICJ) has asked India to make its submission in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case by September 13.
Similarly, Pakistan has been asked by the court to complete its submission by December 13 this year.
Jawad Akram is an Islamabad based Freelance International Affairs Analyst.
He has done Masters in International Relations from University of Sargodha, Pakistan.
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