General Qamar Javed Bajwa and Kulbhushan Jadhav
General Qamar Javed Bajwa and Kulbhushan Jadhav

Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa is "analysing" the evidence against Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav, sentenced to death by a military court, and will decide his appeal on merit, the Army said here yesterday.

Jadhav, 46, filed a mercy petition before Gen Bajwa last month, according to an Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) statement issued on June 22. The statement said that the former Indian Navy officer had filed the petition after the Military Appellate Court rejected his appeal.

Pakistan Army spokesman Major Gen Asif Ghafoor yesterday told reporters that Gen Bajwa was "analysing the evidence against Jadhav. The Army chief will decide Jadhav's appeal on merit."

Jadhav is eligible to appeal for clemency to the Army chief under Pakistan's law, and if his plea is rejected, he can subsequently appeal the Pakistan president for the same.

He was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court in April for his alleged involvement in espionage and terrorist activities. The International Court of Justice in The Hague in May halted his execution on India's appeal.

Pakistan has repeatedly denied India consular access to Jadhav in violation of the Vienna Convention. It has also sat on a request for a visa to Jadhav's mother, Avantika Jadhav, so that she can travel to Pakistan and meet her son.
On July 13, the foreign office said Pakistan was "considering" the request for visa.

Pakistan claims to have arrested Jadhav from Balochistan province on March 3 last year after he reportedly entered from Iran. However, India maintains that he was kidnapped from Iran where he had business interests after retiring from the Indian Navy.