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Posted at: Jan 7, 2018, 12:37 AM; last updated: Jan 7, 2018, 12:37 AM (IST)A VIEW FROM ACROSS THE BORDER

Jadhav case: Pak media almost toes the govt line

Sumayyah Qureshi
India-Pakistan relations again seem to have hit a low point amid a row over ‘ill-treatment’ of Kulbhushan Jadhav’s family in Islamabad
Jadhav case: Pak media almost toes the govt line

Sumayyah Qureshi in Chandigarh

The Kulbushan Jadhav case could be a tipping point in the India-Pakistan relations. There are allegations and vehement denials over Jadhav’s credentials. Pakistan says that its security forces arrested Jadhav, alias Hussein Mubarak Patel, a serving Indian Navy officer, from Balochistan province on charges of espionage for India’s spy agency Research and Analysis Wing. India denies Pakistan’s version. It says that Jadhav had retired from the Navy and was abducted from Iran where he had business interests.

Pakistan sentenced Jadhav, arrested on March 3, 2016, to death in a Field General Court Martial on April 10, 2017, following which India approached the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in May. The ICJ had halted the execution, pending its judgment.

After 21 month, Pakistan allowed Jadhav’s family to meet him in Islamabad on December 25. The meeting was held from behind a glass partition as Jadhav and his wife and mother sat facing each other. The Indian media reacted strongly to the ‘inhuman’ treatment meted out to Jadhav’s wife and mother. The Ministry of External Affairs went all guns blazing, pulling up Pakistan for stage-managing what it called an exercise that ‘lacked credibility.’

Here’s a peek into how Pakistani newspapers reported the issue, giving us an insight into what the other side thinks: 

The Dawn ran an article headlined ‘Kulbhushan Jadhav not alone.’ Writer Jawed Naqvi wrote: “When the Indian Parliament was berating Pakistan for its omissions and commissions with the Jadhav meeting, and when Indian TV channels were going ballistic about the event, they were being blind to exactly how they approach their own prisoners.” Naqvi talked of Indian prisoners Maqbool Bhat and Afzal Guru, who were executed in Tihar Jail without meeting their families. 

The Express Tribune carried a story ‘Kulbhushan Jadhav is face of Indian terrorism: FO’ An editorial: “Engagement, the only option’, in The Express Tribune wrote that Jadhav met his wife and mother amid media frenzy and unprecedented security. It lauded Pakistan for allowing the meeting and said that it was a reminder for the Indian PM that both countries should come together and solve their issues.

“Without going into merits of the Jadhav case, Pakistan’s gesture allowing the Indian spy to have audience with his mother and wife must be applauded. Also the development should not be seen in isolation of overall bilateral ties between the two nuclear-armed neighbours. India may have its grievances, but Pakistan also has a long list of complaints, including RAW’s involvement in abetting terrorism and creating unrest in Pakistan. The fact that despite simmering tensions, the two sides successfully worked out details of the meeting is a positive development. This is also a reminder for the Modi administration that no matter how intricate issues between Pakistan and India are, ultimately they have to sit across the table whether on the issue of Jadhav or perennial disputes such as J&K.” 

A Daily Times editorial ‘Jadhav and the media circus’ said the meeting that should have been seen purely as a humanitarian gesture was anything but that. It berated Pakistan media and said it was undeserving of the title of the fourth pillar for heckling a couple of women. It further went on to say that Pakistani media was in its infancy, at least in terms of understanding what constitutes ethical reporting. Taking a neutral view, it said the Pakistan media should have been denied access to the meeting place.

One of Pakistan’s widely read newspapers The News International carried an editorial ‘Goodwill and reciprocity’. It said how the meeting had allowed an opportunity to show that Pakistan had treated Jadhav well.

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