New Delhi is planning to slow down the issuance of visas to Pakistani applicants as a form of retaliation for Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav’s death sentence, a report published by the Indian Express said Friday.
The report cites sources within the Secretariat Building in New Delhi as saying that initially ‘high visibility’ targets, such as actors, artists, and singers, will be subjected to the tactic in an effort to gauge the impact of the move, eventually leading up to a possible blanket ban on all Pakistani visitors seeking an Indian visa.
Although no specific instructions have been handed to the Indian High Commission in Islamabad, a ‘go-slow mode’ has been activated, the report suggests.
However, sources told the Express that an all-encompassing ban on visas would be difficult to maintain as there are a variety of categories requiring humanitarian intervention, including patients and students.
Earlier this week, a Field General Court Martial (FGCM) had handed Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav the death sentence after trial for involvement in espionage and sabotage activities in Karachi and Balochistan.
Jadhav was arrested on March 3, 2016, through a counter-intelligence operation in Balochistan’s Mashkel area for his involvement in espionage and sabotage activities against Pakistan, the Inter-Services Public Relations said.
A day after the sentencing, Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj assured lawmakers that New Delhi would go “out of its way” to save sentenced spy Kulbhushan Jadhav from death row in Pakistan, according to Indian media reports.
Calling Jadhav “a son of India”, Swaraj issued a warning to Pakistan saying, “I would caution the Pakistani government to consider the consequences for our bilateral relationship if they proceed on this matter.”
“Our position is very clear, there is no evidence of wrongdoing by Kulbhushan Jadhav,” Swaraj told the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Indian parliament.
“This is an act of premeditated murder,” she said, referring to the death sentence handed to the Indian spy.
Condemnation continued to pour in from across the border as the lower house of the Indian parliament, the Lok Sabha, was united in condemning Jadhav’s sentence.
Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh, addressing the Lok Sabha, said: “I condemn it [Jadhav’s death sentence] as an illegal act against the norms of the rule of law and international convention.”
“Whatever has to be done to do justice with Kulbhushan will be done by the government,” he added.