No consular access to Kulbhushan, Basit tells India

Pakistan High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit has said that Kulbhushan Jadhav, Indian spy and Navy officer, had provided a lot of information to the authorities of Pakistan, enabling them to bust several sleeper cells and local operatives.

Basit said that India should not expect Pakistan of providing consular access to Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav who is condemned to death for espionage and his involvement in subversive activities in Balochistan especially sabotaging the activities undergoing in connection with the CPEC.

In an interview with The Indian Express, he said Kulbhushan Jadhav was tried for spying and subversive activities in Pakistan. “His case is not an ordinary one and we have dealt with his consular access plea under the bilateral agreement of 2008, which clearly stipulates that consular access on security related matters will be decided on merit.” Kulbhushan’s mercy plea is pending with the Army Chief who would decide whether or not to pardon him, he said.

Dispelling allegations against Hurriyat leadership, he said that allegations against the Hurriyat leadership were also leveled in the past but nobody could substantiate or prove them. Allegations are baseless, he added. “Efforts have been made to malign the Hurriyat leadership and the Kashmiri struggle and to portray it as a terrorism issue.”

Talking about Kashmiris’ right to self-determination, he said for India, unrest in Indian-held Kashmir may be related to terrorism but Pakistan treats this as struggle of Kashmiri people for securing an inalienable right to self-determination. “During the last three and a half years here I have tried to persuade the interlocutors in India to look at Kashmir situation slightly differently and perhaps you would be able to arrive at the right conclusion.”

Pakistan High Commissioner Basit said that cooperation can’t be on unilateral terms. “When we argue for a comprehensive engagement, it covers everything. It is not Pakistan which is not trying to engage with India, unfortunately, it is India which has not been forthcoming to reach out to Pakistan, “he said.

Refuting the Indian propaganda that Pakistan was becoming a colony of China, he said that the two countries are very close friends and this friendship is not new. India may have its own way of looking at it but as far as the people of Pakistan are concerned, there is no issue. “We know where this cooperation is taking us. It is strategic in nature and we are very confident that this will benefit us mutually. China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) would hopefully be a game changer for Pakistan,” he added.