Bilawal accuses govt of enacting a “secret” ordinance to “facilitate” Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav

SUKKUR: PPP chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has slammed the PTI-led government for enacting a “secret” ordinance to “facilitate” Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav.

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The development comes a day after Pakistan had provided the Indian spy consular access for a second time and after the diplomats left without meeting him, Pakistan decided today to provide consular access for a third time.

The ordinance the PPP chair was referring to is The International Court of Justice Review and Reconsideration Ordinance 2020 that had been enacted on May 20 after the International Court of Justice’s decision to allow Jadhav to appeal for mercy.

Under the ordinance, a review petition may be submitted to the Islamabad High Court within 60 days of the ordinance coming into effect. The 60-day time limit ends on July 19.

Jadhav had been offered the chance on June 17, 2020, but he had refused to avail it.

“The ordinance was introduced to facilitate Kulbushan. Despite the expiry of the ordinance’s time period and the regular meetings of the Senate and National Assembly, it was never presented [in the House],” Bilawal said, while addressing a press conference in Sukkur on Friday.

The PPP chair demanded that PTI inform the nation as to why the ordinance was not presented in either, the Lower or the Upper House.

Bilawal, calling for the government’s accountability in the matter, warned that “this will not be forgiven” and that it was another reason for the incumbent premier to step down from his position.

“Had the PPP introduced such an ordinance, the media would have made our lives miserable and the Difa-e-Pakistan Council would have staged a sit-in in Islamabad,” he said.

Calling it an unprecedented move, Bilawal said that the government should have at least consulted the Opposition even if was forced into the decision.

“This government should have asked the people and sought their permission,” he said, adding: “[Jadhav] had accepted that he was spying in Pakistan.”

The PPP chair said that PTI had apprised the people of its party policy before coming into power. “Today when people are fighting for their lives, the government is enacting an ordinance for Kulbhushan behind our backs.”

Talking about incarcerated PPP leader Khursheed Shah, he said that the party stalwart had strived for democracy and the rule of law his entire life.

“Today as Shah faces injustice, PPP hopes that the judiciary — for which PPP has struggled and its workers laid down their life — will give us justice and grant bail to Shah,” he said.

Last year in September, NAB had arrested Shah from Islamabad over allegations that his assets are beyond known sources of income.

Deploring the “NAB-Niazi nexus”, the PPP chair demanded that it should be stopped. “People look upon the judiciary for justice and the protection of their rights.”

“Till a person’s conviction, all the rights [granted in the constitution] should be given,” he said, adding: “If rights are not granted, then it will [naturally] be perceived that the Opposition is being subjected to political victimisation.”

Highlighting PML-N leader Rana Sanaullah’s speech in the National Assembly on NAB and PTI’s relationship, Bilawal said that Sana had accused the ruling party of blackmailing the anti-graft watchdog.

“How can [federal] ministers and their channels blackmail NAB to launch cases against political opponents or media owners — like Editor-in-Chief of Geo and Jang Group Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman,” he asked.

“This is condemnable,” the PPP chair added.

‘Another reason why this PM must go’

Prior to the media briefing, the PPP chairman had taken his outrage to Twitter and demanded answers and accountability, terming it another reason for Prime Minister Imran Khan to leave his seat.

“What is this secret Kulbhushan Jadhav ordinance introduced by our selected govt without taking the country or parliament into confidence. Absolutely outrageous. We demand answers & accountability. Yet another reason why this PM must go.”

Pakistan to give third consular access to Jadhav

Earlier in the day, the FO spokesperson had said that Pakistan has decided to provide third consular access to Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav.

The spokesperson had also shared that Islamabad has informed New Delhi about the decision, adding that Pakistan has also suggested providing consular access without the presence of security personnel.

“Pakistan is awaiting India’s response,” said the spokesperson of the ministry.

The development comes a day after Pakistan provided the second consular access to Jadhav.

Jadhav, a serving commander of the Indian Navy associated with Indian spy agency Research and Analysis Wing, was arrested on March 3, 2016, from Balochistan on allegations of espionage and terrorism.

He was given a death sentence by a Pakistan military court on April 10, 2017.

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