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Zillions of Indians eagerly await Kulbhushan Jadhav's freedom
Despite several high-level bilateral interactions over the years, India and Pakistan have never enjoyed friendly and cordial relations. And people from both sides of the Line of Control (LoC) have been facing the brutal consequences of this animosity for years now.

The constantly deteriorating Indo-Pak relations are worsening the chances of securing Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav's release, a former Indian naval officer who was arrested in Pakistan's Balochistan province over charges of espionage.

This 47-year-old Indian national, accused by Pakistan for carrying out subversive activities was awarded a death sentence on April 10, 2017 through a Field General Court Martial (FGCM). Pakistan has been constantly stressing that Jadhav was working for Research & Analysis Wing (RAW), which is India's external intelligence agency and their security forces arrested him in a counterintelligence operation that was carried out in Balochistan on March 3, 2016.

Pakistan government also reiterates that Jadhav illegitimately entered their country via Iran and was fuelling a separatist movement in Karachi as well as in Balochistan. In short, Pakistani authorities maintain that Jadhav was trying to destabilise their country by carrying out subversive activities.

Not just that, Pakistani authorities also released a video in the media showing Jadhav confessing his crime. The video shows Jadhav admitting everything about his involvement in instigating people to carry out anti-national activities within Pakistan. In the video, answering to a question, Jadhav admits that he was involved in a variety of activities which led to disturbance of law and order in Pakistan, especially in Karachi and Balochistan on the insistence of Indian intelligence agency RAW. He also admitted that RAW had provided financial support to Baloch separatists to strengthen their movement apart from revealing that he was still a part of Indian Navy.

However, India does not believe in the "Pakistani version" of Jadhav's story and continues to maintain that he was illegally abducted by the Pakistan army from Iran. And if, India successfully manages to prove the authenticity of this argument in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) during the upcoming hearings, it would help in bringing a lot more clarity to this case. In fact, it will put a big question mark on the entire story created by Pakistani authorities wherein they claim that they had arrested Jadhav from Balochistan during a counterintelligence operation.

Although, India agrees that Jadhav was a former naval officer, it has rubbished the allegations made by Pakistan that he was working as a RAW operative at the time of his arrest. The Indian government, which has dragged Pakistan to the ICJ to prove Jadhav's innocence says that he had taken a premature retirement from the Indian Navy and later started his own business. Giving further clarity on the current occupation of Jadhav, India said that he had been running a cargo business in Iran.

Furthermore, Indian authorities have strongly condemned the video footage showing the confession of Jadhav that was released earlier in the media, saying that the entire video was doctored and the whole purpose behind creating the video by Pakistan was to defame India in front of the international community.

What's even more frustrating and interesting at the same time is that whenever India sought consular access to Jadhav, Pakistan always rejected its plea which strongly questions its legitimacy and integrity in the ongoing case. Since Jadhav is an Indian national, it becomes India's right to have consular access to him so that more clarity can be achieved in the case and he be given a fair trial. India must get consular access to Jadhav in order to defend the truth in the best way possible. Pakistan's denial to India's request for consular access to Jadhav is a clear violation of the Vienna Convention. However, not just once or twice, but Pakistan has rejected India's plea for consular access to Jadhav 13 times till now.

India also requested access to the charge sheet filed in Jadhav's case but Pakistan rejected that request too.

Though, the International Court of Justice stayed Jadhav's execution on May 18, 2017 till the final verdict is out, India still needs to take a lot of proactive steps to bring the ball in its court.

On June 8, 2017, the legal teams from both India and Pakistan again met at the ICJ in The Hague, Netherlands to take Jadhav's case a step further, wherein Pakistan even requested for the appointment of its own judge on the bench hearing the case. Since Pakistan is trying its level best to hang Jadhav as soon as possible, India will have to fight this case in a decisive manner to bring the truth out in the open.

Being an Indian, it's my humble request to my fellow-countrymen and the concerned authorities that let's take a pledge today that we will leave no stone unturned to stop Pakistan from legally murdering Kubhushan Jadhav and try to bring him home alive.

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