New Delhi: India today cited Afghanistan NSA’s statement rejecting Pakistan’s claim that it had received a proposal to swap Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav for a terrorist, to assert that it was another addition to Islamabad’s “imaginary lies”.
The reaction came after Pakistan Foreign Minister Khwaja Muhammad Asif suggested that he received the proposal to swap Jadhav with the terrorist, lodged in an Afghan jail, during his meeting with an NSA. However, Khwaja did not identify the NSA or the terrorist who was to be swapped.
Contradicting Asif’s claim, the office of the Afghan National Security Adviser Mohammad Haneef Atmar issued a statement saying there was no mention or reference of India or an Indian citizen during his meeting with the Pakistani foreign minister on September 21 in New York.
Asif had told a gathering at the Asia Society in New York on September 26 that Pakistan received a proposal to swap Jadhav for a terrorist who carried out the horrific 2014 Peshawar school attack and is now jailed in Afghanistan.
Reacting strongly, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said the statement by the office of the Afghan NSA suggested that the claim by Asif was one more addition to the long list of “imaginary lies” by Pakistani establishment.
The statement by Atmar’s office said the two sides, during the meeting, had detailed discussions on variety of issues including bilateral cooperation.
“The two sides also discussed sanctuaries in Pakistan and exchange of the top five Taliban leaders detained in Pakistan. There was no mention or reference of India or an Indian citizen,” it said, adding Atmar was hopeful that the record of the meetings are reported accurately and facts are not “misconstrued”.
The MEA spokesperson also referred to Pakistan’s use of a “fake picture” in the United Nations General Assembly recently, adding the Pakistan Foreign Minister’s claim was another lie.
“If you have gone through the press release (issued by Afghan NSA’s office), it seems this is one more addition to the long list of imaginary lies as stories which have been created by Pakistani establishment,” said Kumar.
Jadhav, a 46-year-old retired Indian Navy officer, was in April sentenced to death by Pakistan’s Field General Court Martial on charges of his alleged “involvement in espionage and sabotage activities” against Pakistan.
In a hearing of the case on May 18, a 10-member bench of the International Court of Justice had restrained Pakistan from executing Jadhav.
The Pakistan Taliban had claimed responsibility for the gruesome Peshawar school attack in 2014 in which nearly 150 people, mostly school children, were killed.