The Indian government has said it will make all possible efforts to save Indian citizen and former naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav, currently facing a death sentence in Pakistan on charges of espionage.
India has clearly said that Jadhav’s execution, if carried out, will be viewed as a case of ‘pre-mediated murder’ and has even threatened Pakistan of severe consequences.
On the other hand, Pakistan has come in from severe criticism both from India and the global community. However, one aspect that has hitherto gone largely unnoticed are the critiques of the judgment from within the country. These voices are significant not just for the embarrassment they bring to the political and military establishment in Pakistan, but for the narrative they present – especially considering the anti-India sentiment one believes dominates Pakistanis.
And there could well be a good reason behind these voices of dissent originating in Pakistan.
Besides engaging in diplomatic efforts to save Jadhav, the Indian government is strategically using All India Radio’s External Services Division to build a strong narrative in favour of the Kulbhushan Jadhav, who is believed to have been travelling to Iran for business purposes.
This AIR division, which broadcasts in seven languages, including Pashtun, Baluchi, Punjabi, Urdu, Sindhi and Saraiki, targets listeners in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
The radio service, through regular broadcast, is trying to convince the people of the Islamic nation that awarding the death sentence to Jadhav is anti-Islamic and against the basic tenets of Islam.
On Tuesday, the service – which has a good number of listeners in Sindh, Punjab and Baluch areas of Pakistan, broadcasted this: "A musafir (traveller) is one who has Allah's sympathy, and Allah's power guides him throughout his journeys. Killing a musafir or even thinking of harming him is a sin in Islam."
Indian authorities expect to tilt the opinion of the moderate Pakistani -- who they believe have not taken too kindly to the decision – in favour of India. Media in Pakistan is also debating the issue hotly, and general opinion is that the decision will take the Indo-Pak relations to a new low.
One possible fallout of the entire row could be an adverse impact on the Pakistani citizens languishing in Indian jails. There are voices growing within India that seek a tit-for-tat move against Pakistan’s brazenness, suggesting that the time for warnings was over.
"We have been trying to emphasise in our bulletins that the sentence defies all tenets of Islam. These bulletins have also urged the people of Pakistan to speak up against this "anti- Islamic" act of their state," AIR's Director General Fayyaz Sheheryar told Economic Times.
On its part, all Pakistan maintains is that the sentencing by the military court – which took all but a few minutes to pronounce Jadhav guilty of espionage and order him to the gallows – was in accordance with the law of the land and that he still had three months to appeal against the decision.
It has, however, failed to provide evidence or the details of the crimes Jadhav has been convicted of. This, after it allows perpetrators of terror on India move around freely for lack of evidences.
It has also failed to find any merit in the statement of the German envoy who claimed Jadhav was picked from Iran. It also offers no explanation on its remarkable turnaround from just a few weeks back where the Nawaz Sharif government stated in Parliament that it did not have sufficient evidence to prosecute Jadhav.