Indian man convicted of spying asks Pakistan army chief for mercy

Reuters News
Posted: Jun 22, 2017 11:32 AM

(Reuters) - An Indian citizen sentenced to death for spying in Pakistan has filed a mercy petition with the country's chief of army staff, the Pakistan military said on Thursday.

Former Indian naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav was arrested last year in Pakistan's southwestern Baluchistan province, the site of a long-running conflict between the Pakistan military and separatist insurgents.

"Commander Jadhav has admitted his involvement in espionage, terrorist and subversive activities in Pakistan and expressed remorse at the resultant loss of any precious lives and extensive damage to property due to his actions," Pakistan's military said in a statement, adding that he has asked for mercy on "compassionate grounds".

After Jadhav was sentenced to death in April, India asked the World Court for an injunction to bar the execution, arguing that he was denied diplomatic assistance during what it terms as an unfair trial. 

The World Court, formally known as the International Court of Justice, ordered Pakistan in May to delay Jadhav's execution. It argued that Islamabad violated a treaty guaranteeing diplomatic assistance to foreigners accused of crimes.

The World Court is the top United Nations legal body for hearing disputes between states and its rulings are binding - though occasionally flouted.

Pakistan authorities say Jadhav confessed to being assigned by India's intelligence service to plan, coordinate and organize espionage and sabotage activities in Baluchistan "aiming to destabilize and wage war against Pakistan".

Baluchistan, which has rich reserves of natural gas and minerals, is also at the center of $57-billion Chinese-backed "Belt and Road" development project that first focused on Chinese firms building roads and power stations but is now expanding to include setting up industries.

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Pakistan also released a second confession from Jadhav. In this he admits to working for India's Research and Intelligence Wing and financing Baluch separatists to carry out attacks on Pakistani military targets. 

There was no immediate reaction from India's ministry of external affairs to Thursday's development.

(Reporting by Saad Sayeed, editing by Pritha Sarkar)