General

Khawaja Asif rejects Indian criticism on Kulbhushan, family meeting

In response to unceasing criticism and accusations from the Indian external affairs ministry, Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif on Thursday categorically rejected all allegations and complaints raised by India while stressing that the meeting between Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav and his family had been permitted on humanitarian grounds, in line with Islamic teachings and in the tradition of compassion and grace.
Earlier in the day, Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj had rejected Pakistan’s claim that ‘something suspicious’ was found in Jadhav’s wife’s shoes, terming the allegation “an absurdity beyond measure”.
While addressing the Rajya Sabha  the upper house of India’s parliament Swaraj had said that it was “absurd to suggest there was a mystery chip or camera or recording device planted inside Kulbhushan’s wife’s shoes.”
Swaraj also reiterated claims that the trial conducted by Pakistan to convict Jadhav was “farcical” and that his mother and wife were humiliated by Pakistani authorities before and after their meeting with him.
Asif, in his statement, said the meeting had been held successfully despite all impediments and this needs to be acknowledged.
“The success of the meeting was evident by the fact that the mother thanked Pakistan after the visit,” he added.
Referring to questions being raised by Indian media and authorities on the modalities of the visit, the foreign minister highlighted that the decision to allow the meeting “did not obviate the fact that this was not an ordinary meeting between a mother and wife with their son and husband.”
“The reality remains that Kulbhushan Jadhav is a serving Indian Naval officer and a convicted Indian terrorist and spy responsible for multiple deaths and destruction in Pakistan,” he stressed, adding that comprehensive security check for the visitors was therefore essential.
“This was agreed between both the countries, in advance, through diplomatic channels. The visitors were treated with respect and dignity. The change of clothes and removal of jewellery and ornaments etc was purely for security reasons,” the minister added.
He further said that the visitors were returned all of their belongings before they left. Only the wife’s shoes were retained as they did not clear a security check.
“A metal chip was found in one of the shoes, which is being analysed,” he stated.
Citing the example of routine airport security checks for ordinary people, he termed the statements made by Indian authorities a bid to “distort an agreed security check” and attempt to portray it as ‘disrespect’.
“It is unfortunate that the frenzied Indian media is driving Indian politics,” he remarked.
Also on Thursday, Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal reiterated that the family of convicted Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav had been allowed to met him purely on humanitarian grounds.
“The footwear of Kulbhushan’s wife was taken only because of security concerns,” he said, adding that the shoes will be handed over to Indian authorities after complete screening.
“The details of the screening will also be shared with media in the next two days,” he said.
The FO spokesperson further said that a letter has been sent to Indian authorities seeking details on the whereabouts of retired Col Habib Zahir, who had gone missing from Nepal in April this year.