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Jadhav's death sentence is 'premeditated murder'

The government on Monday summoned Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit after reports emerged that alleged Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav had been sentenced to death by the Pakistani military.

Foreign secretary S Jaishankar ordered Basit's presence and issued a demarche stating that the proceedings that led to Jadhav's sentencing are farcical.

"The proceedings that have led to the sentence against Shri Jadhav are farcical in the absence of any credible evidence against him. It is significant that our High Commission was not even informed that Shri Jadhav was being brought to trial," the Ministry of External Affairs said in the demarche.

The strongly-worded demarche further said that if the due course of law is not observed in the case, India will regard Jadhav's execution as murder in the first degree.

"If this sentence against an Indian citizen, awarded without observing basic norms of law and justice, is carried out, the Government and people of India will regard it as a case of premeditated murder," it stated.

Earlier on Monday, Pakistan's powerful army chief approved the execution of alleged Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav after a military court found him guilty of "involvement in espionage and sabotage activities" against the country.

The death sentence to Jadhav, 46, was confirmed by army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa after the Field General Court Martial (FGCM) found him guilty of "all the charges", said the military's media wing Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).

"The spy has been tried through Field General Court Martial under Pakistan Army Act and awarded death sentence," it said and added that the FGCM found Jadhav "guilty of all the charges."

According to the ISPR statement, Jadhav, a Commander in the Indian Navy, "confessed" before a Magistrate and the court that he was "tasked by RAW to plan, coordinate and organise espionage/sabotage activities aiming to destabilise and wage war against Pakistan by impeding the efforts of Law Enforcement Agencies for restoring peace in Balochistan and Karachi."

Jadhav was "arrested" on March 3 last year by Pakistani security forces in the restive Balochistan province after he reportedly entered from Iran. Pakistan has alleged that Jadhav was "a serving officer" in the Indian Navy and deputed to the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW).

The Pakistan Army had released a "confessional video" of Jadhav after his arrest.

India has acknowledged that Jadhav served with the navy but denied he has any connection with the government. "The individual has no link with government since his premature retirement from Indian Navy," the External Affairs Ministry had said in a statement in March last year.

India had demanded Consular access to Jadhav, but Pakistan repeatedly denied Indian officials access to him.

The ISPR statement, however, said Jadhav, alias Hussein Mubarak Patel, was "provided with defending officer as per legal provisions".

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