How Kulbhushan Jadhav’s mother foiled Pakistan’s crooked plan

New Delhi: “But why are you saying all this? You were doing business in Iran from where you were abducted. You must tell the truth,” an angry Avanti Jadhav interrupted her son Kulbhushan Jadhav on December 25 when she and daughter-in-law Chetna were brought face-to-face with the Indian national held in Pakistan.
Jadhav had bizarrely greeted the two women by acknowledging that he was, as alleged by Pakistan and contested by India, indeed an Indian spy and had engineered a spate of terror attacks. Speaking as if he was programmed, Jadhav went on to regurgitate the details of Pakistan’s sprawling charge-sheet against him.
His remarks were so out of place in terms of reactions that might be expected on meeting his family after 22 months of captivity, they struck his mother as too surreal to digest. The 70-year-old woman managed to summon, despite being in an intimidating setting with Pakistani officers watching, the resolve to tell her son not to parrot the script handed to him by his captors – Pakistan Army-ISI.
Avanti’s courage may have put a spanner in the works of Pakistanis who had planned, sources here suspect, to use the recording of Jadhav’s “confession” to his wife and mother about him being a terrorist, to bolster their narrative against him and India.
The intervention also validated India’s decision to insist that Jadhav’s mother accompany wife Chetna. Pakistan had initially given a visa only to Chetna but relented when India pressed that mother Avanti should also be allowed access.
The Indian side fears that Pakistan could still leak doctored versions of Jadhav’s conversation with the women, but is relieved that Avanti’s fortitude interrupted the plan and would force Islamabad to do a “scissor-and-paste” job.
Avanti’s presence also ensured that Jadhav’s wife retained her calm in the coercive atmosphere in which the meeting took place.
India was wary of what Pakistan might do during the meeting, and its fears were confirmed when the diplomat who was to accompany Avanti and Chetna from India was denied visa.
After the meeting, Avanti and Chetna were left exposed to a bullying bunch of Pakistani journalists. This was in complete contravention of an understanding on how the meeting was to be conducted. In fact, India’s deputy high commissioner J P Singh almost lost his cool when the vehicle to take them away took inordinately long to reach. Suspecting that it was a ploy to make them walk to a point where they would have been precariously close to the pack of hostile journalists, an exasperated Singh could be seen throwing up his hands in anger.

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