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Condemble Diplomacy

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  30 Dec 2017 12:00 AM GMT

There is a general impression that diplomacy is a word that concerns only diplomats. This is far from the comprehensive semantics of the word, since diplomacy has to do also with how a tion conducts itself in dealing with citizens of another tion permitted to visit the country concerned. The most recent example of the worst possible kind of diplomacy was in evidence when the mother and wife of Kulbhushan Jadhav, the retired Indian val officer sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on espioge charges, went to visit him in Pakistan on Monday. According to reports and Rajya Sabha proceedings of Thursday, the two women had to remove their mangalsutra, shoes, bangles and bindi and also change their clothes before they were allowed to see Jadhav through a glass partition and talk to him over telephone. Jadhav’s mother Avanti, who wears nothing other than a sari, was forced to wear a salwar-kameez given by the Pakistanis. Avanti had told the Pakistanis that the mangalsutra and bindi were signs of her marital status and that she had never removed them, but they did not relent. Since both the women appeared before Jadhav looking like widows, his first question to Avanti was whether all was well with his father. One cannot possibly think of a more uncivil way of dealing with the mother and wife of someone sentenced to death on espioge charges who have been permitted by the government concerned to visit him. Media coverage of Jadhav’s meeting with his family was permitted, though from a certain distance. On Thursday, Pakistan claimed that Indian High Commission officials in Islamabad had agreed to media presence at a “distance” in line with intertiol norms, during the visit by family members of Kulbhushan Jadhav. It had apparently been agreed that the media would not be given “close access” to the family. According to Pakistani officials, “No specific distance was agreed to... (but) the situation on the ground (in the Pakistani Foreign Ministry) were shown to the officers of the Indian High Commission on the evening of 24 December, and they consented to it.” But what was not on the cards but allowed to happen was that Pakistani jourlists harassed the family and made offensive remarks. Even the most elementary courtesy demanded that such conduct should have been firmly dealt with by Pakistani Foreign Ministry officials. Islamabad has claimed that the Indian Deputy High Commissioner could have objected to the change in attire demanded of the two women there and then. However, this was made impossible because the Pakistanis took the women away without informing him. According to the Pakistani media, the shoes of Jadhav’s wife were sent for forensic tests after a “metallic object” was found in one. According to Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj, Pakistan sought to project the meeting as a humanitarian gesture, but “the truth is that both humanity and compassion were missing... What was on display was a “serious and gross violation of human rights of the family members of Shri Jadhav.”

India sent a note verbale to Pakistan on Wednesday, voicing New Delhi’s concerns about violation of agreed terms for the visit and cautioning Pakistan against attempting any mischief with the shoes of Jadhav’s wife. All said and done, the treatment meted out to Kulbhushan Jadhav’s mother and wife on Monday constitutes an abomible violation of diplomatic norms for any country. India should now stop making any further official protests to Pakistan and take up the matter informally with member states of the United tions and other diplomatic entities through the circulation of thousands of copies of reports on how Kulbhushan Jadhav’s mother and wife had been treated in Pakistan. There is little that Pakistan will be able to do about such a course of action.

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