Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav, who is facing capital punishment on charges of espionage, terrorist and subversive activities in Pakistan, has sought "forgiveness for his espionage, terrorist, and subversive activities" and filed a mercy petition before Pakistan's army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, the army's media wing ISPR said on Thursday.
This was after the former Indian Navy officer's review plea was rejected by Pakistan's Military Appellate Tribunal. Kulbhushan was awarded the death penalty by a Pakistani military court on April 18 this year on charges of "involvement in espionage and sabotage activities" against the country.
ISPR claimed in a release on Thursday evening that Kulbhushan Jadhav has admitted to his being involved in "espionage, terrorist and subversive activities in Pakistan and expressed remorse at the resultant loss of many precious innocent lives and extensive damage to property due to his actions".
Producing Jadhav's "confessional statement" on its Twitter handle on Thursday evening, ISPR said that he has sought "forgiveness" for his actions and requested Pakistan's Army chief to spare his life on compassionate grounds.
Maj General Asif Ghafoor of the Pakistani Army posted Jadhav's statement on his Twitter account. The fiction-tinged statement, which sounds straight out of a spy novel and appeared to bear a strong element of coercion behind its origin, has Jadhav stating that his alias name given by Indian surveillance agency RAW was 'Hussain Mubarak Patel'.
He had been sent to Churbahar in Iran to conduct meetings with Baloch insurgents and terrorists in order to help RAW incite rebellion against the Pakistan government, besides financing and supporting them with ammunition, the confession allegedly given by Jadhav said.
As per the statement of confession, Jadhav planned to infiltrate 30-40 RAW operatives along the Makran Coastal Range, a mountain range in the Makran region, in the south-western section of Balochistan Province, in south-western Pakistan. This was to facilitate a joint operation with Baloch insurgents and terrorists in carrying out attacks on "precision targets" within Pakistan, and if required, move towards inner cities like Quetta or Turbat, the confession stated.
ISPR claimed that Jadhav had "expressed remorse at the resultant loss of many precious innocent lives and extensive damage to property due to his actions" for what the Pakistan Army insisted was actions of espionage and terrorist activities against Pakistan.
If Jadhav's mercy petition to the Pakistan Army chief meets the same fate as at the Military Appellate Tribunal, he can file one more petition before the Pakistan President Mamnoon Husain, beyond which he will not have any more legal recourse.
The decision comes a day after Pakistan High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit hinted at a softening stance, saying there was a scope for rethinking by the Pakistan government in Jadhav's case.
The Indian government has condemned the charges against Jadhav as "concocted" and his trial as "farcical". India had moved the ICJ against the death sentence on May 8, and obtained a stay on Pakistan's plans to execute Jadhav much to the latter's consternation.
Pakistan has said that Jadhav's death sentence will not be carried out until he exhausts all his options for filing mercy petitions. Thursday's incriminating statement by the Pakistan Army seems to indicate that Pakistan is keen to speed up the process before another round of hearings on the issue comes up at the ICJ.