New York: Pakistan received a proposal to swap Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav for a terrorist who carried out the horrific 2014 Peshawar school attack and is now jailed in Afghanistan, foreign minister Khwaja Muhammad Asif has claimed.
Asif, however, did not specify the name of the terrorist and the National Security Advisor who had made the proposal.
“The terrorist who killed children in APS (Army Public School) in Peshawar is in Afghan custody. The National Security Advisor (NSA) told me that we can exchange that terrorist with the terrorist you have, which is Kulbhushan Jadhav,” Asif told the audience after his speech at the Asia Society here on Wednesday.
He discussed Pakistan’s vision for and approach towards regional peace and development during his conversion with author and journalist Steve Coll.
Asif said Pakistan had suffered grievously from conflict and instability in Afghanistan.
“Unless this cycle is reversed, we would continue to bear the brunt. No country, therefore, has a larger stake in seeing peace and stability return to Afghanistan than Pakistan. Regrettably, the situation in Afghanistan is getting worse,” he said.
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.
Asif said there was no military solution to Afghanistan. He said Pakistan had in the past done all it could to facilitate a political settlement.
“We have also done all that we could to make sure that Pakistani soil is not used against any country,” he claimed.
“However, there are obviously clear limits to what we can do. We cannot take responsibility for Afghanistan’s peace and security and be asked to achieve what the combined strength of some of the most powerful and richest countries could not accomplish,” Asif said.
India has accused Pakistan of violating the Vienna Convention by repeatedly denying consular access to Jadhav.
In a hearing of the case on May 18, a 10-member bench of the ICJ restrained Pakistan from executing Jadhav.
Pakistan has said that the Indian national would not be executed until he has exhausted his mercy appeals.
The Pakistan Taliban had claimed responsibility for the gruesome Peshawar school attack in 2014 in which nearly 150 people, mostly school children, were killed.