Tehran slams sections of Pak media for undignified rumours on Indian spy arrest

Source:  Dawn.com Published in Foreign Affairs on Thursday, March 31, 2016

ISLAMABAD: The Iranian Embassy in Islamabad on Thursday slammed “certain elements in Pakistan” for spreading “undignified and offensive” remarks, which it said were attributed to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, regarding the arrest of Indian spy Kulbhushan Jhadav.

“Elements unhappy over promotion of ties between the two Islamic countries of Iran and Pakistan are trying in various ways, including the spreading of undignified and sometimes offensive contents, to fade out the significant achievements during the visit of President Rouhani to Pakistan,” embassy spokesman Abbas Badrifar said.

The spokesman's statement comes just days after Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav's arrest was announced on March 25, while Rouhani was visiting Islamabad.

The spreading of such news items, said Badrifar, without clarifying what news report he was referring to, is the product of thinking which does not like further expansion of ties between the two countries and is against fruitful materialisation of agreements made during the visit of the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

But Badrifar said such tactics “will not impact the positive views of the two countries regarding each other.”

He said since independence, Pakistan had always proven itself a “trusted partner and neighbour”, adding that the “western borders of Pakistan have never been threatened”.

“Iran considers its borders with Pakistan those of peace and friendship,” the spokesman said.

Jadhav's arrest

Law enforcement agencies announced the arrest of Jadhav on March 25, saying he had been picked up during an intelligence-based raid in Balochistan's Chaman area.

The Indian Foreign Ministry earlier confirmed the arrested man was a former Indian Navy officer, but the Pakistani government claimed to have recovered travel documents and multiple fake identities of Jadhav, establishing him as an Indian spy who entered into Balochistan through Iran — holding a valid Iranian visa.

Jadhav was shifted to Islamabad for interrogation, during which an unnamed official said the spy revealed that he had purchased boats at the Iranian port in Chabahar in order to target Karachi and Gwadar ports in a terrorist plot. The official had said the 'RAW agent' is believed to be expert at Naval fighting techniques.

Jadhav's confessions

In a confessional video aired by Bajwa and Federal Information Minister Pervaiz Rasheed at a joint press conference, Jadhav said: "I am still a serving officer in the Indian Navy and will be due for retirement in 2022."

"By 2002, I commenced intelligence operations. In 2003, I established a small business in Chabahar in Iran. As I was able to achieve undetected existence and visits to Karachi in 2003 and 2004 and, having done some basic assignments within India for RAW, I was picked up by RAW in 2013 end."

Since then, he said he has been directing various activities in Karachi and Balochistan "at the behest of RAW", adding that he had played a role in the deteriorating law and order situation in Karachi.

"I am basically the man for Mr Anil Kumar Gupta who is the joint secretary of RAW and his contacts in Pakistan," he said, "especially in the Baloch student organisation". His purpose was to meet Baloch insurgents and carry out "activities with their collaboration", he explained.

"These activities have been of anti-national or terrorist nature," he said, as they resulted in the "killing or maiming of Pakistani citizens".

India's reaction

In an earlier statement, the Indian government said it "categorically rejects allegations that this individual was involved in subversive activities in Pakistan at our behest", claiming that their enquiries reveal he had been harassed while operating a legitimate business from Iran.

The statement says Jadhav's 'confession' "clearly indicates tutoring" and "challenges credulity", and said that they had not been given consular access to "an Indian national under detention in a foreign country, as is the accepted international practice".