New Delhi, April 21: The Indian-American community in the United States have launched a White House petition to save Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav, who has been sentenced to death by a military court in Pakistan on charges of espionage. The support from the Indian-American community in the US comes at a time, when India and Pakistan are going through a rough diplomatic patch over Jadhav’s sentence.
White House petition is an option provided by the US government in their website, We the People, which allows people to create a petition and gain support following which the White House pays attention to the claims of the petition. So while the petition has been launched by the Indian-American community, now they need to achieve 100,000 signatures in 30 days to get an update from the US Government. However, it is not yet known, how the US government would react to such a petition, which might influence its own diplomatic ties with Pakistan and India.
Kulbhushan Yadav was arrested in March 2016 allegedly while he was trying to enter Pakistan illegally from Iran. An ex-naval officer, Jadhav after his premature retirement reportedly settled in Iran and started his own business. But after his arrest, Pakistan leveled against him charges of espionage and carrying in subversive activities in the country. They also claimed that Jadhav was indeed a RAW agent and was sent to Pakistan to carry acts of terror. While India accepted the fact that Jadhav was a naval officer, they denied the charges of him being a RAW agent.
Soon Pakistan in a ‘secret’ trial by a military court sentenced Jadhav to death, and this caused much disharmony amongst the people. While Indian authorities negated evidences against Jadhav as ‘fabricated’, Pakistan kept on emphasising that Jadhav has confessed about him being a RAW agent. As of now, the issue is yet not addressed properly, Pakistan has denied India’s request for consular access for the 14th consecutive time and this has raised questions of Human rights violations.
Earlier, UK based Amnesty International has also criticised the death sentence and questioned the validity of it.
Now with the Indian0American community making this move, the question remains whether the US if necessary will take any steop to intervene into the issue?
Note: The US Government is considering to shut down the petition website We the People. According to US News, as none of the Trump-era petitions have yet been given a response the future seems foggy and White House Communications Director Mike Dubke told U.S. News that the site’s fate is in limbo.