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I’m not sure who Kulbhushan Jadhav is, or how he came to be in Pakistan, but my curiosity has been aroused and I’ve tried to read as widely as I can to find the answers. Alas, all I’ve ended up with is questions. The more I learn, the more they multiply.

 
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Once inside Pakistan, the message was more positive and one that focused, at least publicly, on “strengthening bilateral relations” and “working with Pakistan to achieve peace and stability in Afghanistan” and with India. But the damage had already been done outside Pakistan. US National Security Adviser retired Lt-Gen H.R. McMaster appears to have committed a classic beginner’s error when it comes to addressing the region. Or perhaps the administration of President Donald Trump, keen to sound tough, has made an early mistake. Either way, giving a media interview in Kabul and using that platform to, effectively, verbally attack Pakistan was an unnecessary move by Mr McMaster. It is worth recalling the crux of what he said: “We have hoped that Pakistani leaders will understand that it is in their interest to go after these [militant] groups less selectively … and the best way to pursue their interest in Afghanistan and elsewhere is … not through the use of proxies that engage in violence.” Translation: Pakistan is using militant proxies against Afghanistan and India.  
 
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Twenty-seven year old shawl weaver Farooq Ahmed Dar may end up becoming the face of the Kashmiri liberation movement and the dehumanising Indian occupation. After internet services in the valley were finally restored, videos of the Indian army patrolling villages with Dar tied to the front bumper of a jeep – complete with a piece of paper on his chest with his name on it – started spreading, leading to further protests and violence. The army was using Dar both as a human shield and as a warning to those who protest against the occupation. This was meant to humiliate Dar and show them the price of resistance. The tactic was straight of the Israeli playbook, which has often used children as human shields, and even the police in India was forced to register a case against an unnamed army official. But, contrary to what the Indian army is saying, this incident is not an aberration. It is a true representation of the occupation and the humiliation it inflicts on the Kashmiri people. The rest of the world may be in denial about what the Indian army is doing but this video should serve as an eye-opener. Predictably, violence in Kashmir has spiked as Dar becomes a symbol – similar to Burhan Wani – and India shows no signs of ending its occupation or even forsaking the use of disproportionate violence.
 
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Last Monday, a military court sentenced Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav to death over spying for Indian intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) under Section 59 of Pakistan Army Act (PAA)-1952 and Section 3 of Official Secret Act of 1923.
 
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Pakistan may appear to be clutching at straws if it is to take Afghan envoy Dr Omar Zakhilwal’s broadest hint yet that a joint operation is possible against TTP leader Mullah Fazlullah — if the past is any indication. Such a prospect, as security and policy wonks would argue, is too good to be missed because if Kabul delivers on that pledge — even if Fazlullah somehow eludes capture — Islamabad could still come away with some major dividends from that engagement. The biggest gain perhaps would be in navigating a new course for better neighbourly relations — long soured by the menacing presence of Fazlullah and his fighters in the Afghan provinces of Kunar and Nuristan from where they have mounted routine attacks on border posts and key government installations on Pakistani soil. Kabul has shown little interest in expelling the TTP leader from its soil despite pledging to do so way back in the middle of December 2014 — in the aftermath of the Army Public School attack.
 
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Given the events of recent weeks, there are not many that would lay money on the possibility of a meeting between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi. The death sentence awarded to Kulbhushan Jadhav, appeared to be the final nail in the coffin with some in India calling for a severing of diplomatic ties with Pakistan. The conviction of Jadhav whether he was tried by a civilian or a military court was a foregone conclusion in view of the weight of evidence. He has made a detailed confessional statement that has not been refuted and was caught red-handed. The death sentence will have been no surprise either. Death for spying is a not uncommon sentence elsewhere in the world and no matter that this newspaper deplores any and all executions the law followed its course. Spying is akin to treason when it comes to the weight of sentencing. All of the foregoing will have been known to the Indians as it is to those in Pakistan that have a hand on the foreign affairs’ levers, and subtle pressures are building on both sides for a resolution to the Kashmir issue.
 
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Kulbhushan Jadhav's life can be saved. But there are several pre-conditions to achieving this objective. First of all, New Delhi has to comprehensively bury any sense of false pride. In doing so, India can learn from Israel: in Tel Aviv, no matter which party is in power, bringing back its soldiers - and civilians - captured by the 'enemy' is a commitment almost akin to practising their faith.
 
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While the Indian government has initiated a strong diplomatic response to the death sentence awarded to Kulbhushan Jadhav by a Pakistani army general court martial, what are the legal options available to him in Pakistan?
 
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Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) has been in the news recently due to the March 14 revelation of a Pakistani minister that the government was considering making it the fifth province of Pakistan. This was pursuant to the recommendations of a committee headed by the adviser on foreign affairs, Sartaj Aziz.
 
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The editorial in Organiser comments on the death sentence given to “Kulbhushan Jadhav, a Bharatiya”, by the Field General Court Martial under the Pakistan Army Act. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has already said that it “would be considered as a ‘premeditated murder’ and Pakistan should be ready to face the consequences”. It terms Jadhav’s “arrest and subsequent trial” “fishy and farcical”, which “raises many questions about the intention of Pakistan”. India sought consular access to him 13 times, only to be denied by the Pakistani authorities, who “are still not disclosing the whereabouts of a Bharatiya citizen”. Pointing out that “Pakistan has a long history of flouting laws,” it asks: The real question is why Pakistan is playing this card now and how to deal with it.
 


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