Why Pakistan has deeply hurt sentiments of Indians by treating Kulbhushan’s family inhumanely
New Delhi, Dec 28: Forget hawks, even incurable peaceniks in India are deeply hurt and miffed by the "inhuman" treatment Pakistan accorded to the family members of Kulbhushan Jadav, the alleged Indian spy on death row and lodged in the country's jail, during their recent trip to meet him in Islamabad.
Right from the 40-minute long meeting between Kulbhushan with his wife Chetankul and mother Avanti across a glass screen to heckling and harassment of the 47-year-old Mumbai man's wife and mother by Pakistani journalists, the sinister designs employed by Pakistan to insult India is one of the lowest points between the two "warring" countries.
Looking at the ordeal the wife and mother of Kulbhushan went through in Pakistan on December 25, the day the whole world was celebrating Christmas, there was nothing cheerful about the episode for the Jadhav family and the rest of India.
While Pakistan is trying to dub the entire farcical affair as a "grand humanitarian gesture" by letting the former Indian naval official meet his family members, for Indians it's an "insult" which has further increased the mistrust between the two countries.
First, under the pretext of security precautions, the cultural and religious sensibilities of the family members were disregarded by Pakistani officials by asking them to remove mangal sutra, bangles and bindi before the high-profile meeting. Both mother and wife of Kulbhushan were asked to change their attire ahead of the meeting. While jewellery of the duo was returned by Pakistani officials, they kept the wife's shoes stating the pair contained metal object and thus they have sent it for forensic test.
Once they were out of the meeting where they interacted with Kulbhushan through intercom, Pakistani journalists waiting outside the meeting venue hounded both the mother and wife with statements like "Aapka beta kaatil hain" (Your son (Kulbhushan) is a murderer).
During the meeting, the family was interrupted multiple times by Pakistani officials who did not allow them to speak in their mother tongue Marathi.
The family also expressed serious concern about Kulbhushan's health and well-being stating that he appeared to be under "considerable stress and (was) speaking in an atmosphere of coercion".
Objecting to the treatment meted out to the wife and mother, the Union ministry of external affairs in its statement said the "exercise lacked credibility". The statement added that "the Pakistani side conducted the meeting in a manner which violated the letter and spirit of our understandings".
Statement on Shri Kulbhushan Jadhav’s meeting with his family. https://t.co/rAVB5t6klQ— Raveesh Kumar (@MEAIndia) December 26, 2017
The statement of MEA called the meeting "intimidating" for Kulbhushan's family members. The MEA also raised doubts about Kulbhushan's video released after the meeting "thanking" Pakistani government and foreign office for the "grand gesture".
The MEA said the whole video appears to be "tutored" and recorded before the meeting took place. The MEA alleged that it was an "attempt to bolster a false and unsubstantiated narrative" by Pakistan about Kulbhushan's alleged espionage activities.
The 47-year-old was arrested last year by Pakistan for alleged "espionage" and sentenced to death in April this year.
Harish Salve, the senior counsel representing India in the International Court of Justice (ICJ), who earlier this year successfully contested against the death penalty Pakistan pronounced against Kulbhushan in a "kangaroo court", termed the whole incident as "very disappointing".
Salve also raised doubts about Kulbhushan's health and the mental state he is currently undergoing.
Congress leader and former diplomat Shashi Tharoor summed up both the "positive" and "negative" sides of the meeting.
"In one sense, it is a step forward because 22 months after they arrested this poor man, finally somebody is able to see him. On the other hand, the way in which roll unfolded was deeply unsatisfactory," said Tharoor.
On Wednesday, during the Winter Session of Parliament, leaders of all political parties in unison condemned the way Pakistan humiliated the family of jailed Indian national in Islamabad.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj informed that she will make a statement on Thursday in Parliament on the whole affair.
While in India the whole episode of mistreatment meted to the Jadhav family in Pakistan was condemned, the Pakistani authorities left no stone unturned to take credit from an attempt to wage psychological warfare against India by using two hapless women who went to Islamabad to meet their son and husband after 22 months of his arrest.
"Let me be very clear that Pakistan permitted the Indian request totally on humanitarian grounds in line with Islamic principles and teachings. Islam is a religion of peace... and it was a gesture of good faith and compassion," said the Pakistani foreign office spokesperson Muhammed Faisal, adding, "It has nothing to do with consular access."
It was for security reasons,we had already told them that you will be able to meet him but a security barrier would be there: Dr.Mohd Faisal,Pak Foreign Ministry Spokesperson on ANI's question regarding glass barrier between Jadhav and his mother and wife #KulbhushanJadhav pic.twitter.com/LiRoG5p8VH— ANI (@ANI) December 25, 2017
It was a humanitarian meeting, it was not consular access. The Indian diplomat JP Singh was present and could see the meeting but was not allowed to meet, we extended the meeting by 10 minutes on request of Jadhav:Mohd Faisal,Pak Foreign Ministry Spokesperson #KulbhushanJadhav pic.twitter.com/wJZ4InjROS— ANI (@ANI) December 25, 2017
Like in the past, this year too, Pakistan continued with its attacks against India, mostly through cross-border terrorism, that killed several Indian soldiers. However, the latest episode to belittle the distressed Jadhav family by inviting them to Pakistan is the worst form of politics any country could indulge in.
If Pakistan is feeling triumphant by insulting the Jadhav family and India at large, it is wrong. The neighbouring country has lost its last and biggest chance to change the opinion about it among the anti-Pakistani group in India which always insists on waging war against the "rogue" nation to teach it a lesson.
On the other hand, the peaceniks, who are called as "anti-nationals" in India for promoting brotherhood and unity among the two hostile nations, are the most dejected ones. They feel Pakistan has once again backstabbed India, not on the actual battlefield, but at a civilian platform where the neighbouring country showed that it lacks basic humanity and courtesy.
Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu during an interaction at the national capital on Wednesday succinctly summed up the mood of India. The VP described Pakistan's handling of Kulbhushan's meeting with his family members as "inhuman" which has "deeply hurt the sentiments of Indians".