National

How Pak army even caught PM Nawaz Sharif off-guard on Jadhav sentence

NEW DELHI: The Pakistan government discovered the verdict on Kulbhushan Jadhav at the same time Indians did at 2pm on April 10. With foreign minister Sushma Swaraj ratcheting up the diplomatic rhetoric, ties with Pakistan just went down several notches.

The progress of the secret military trial against Jadhav was obviously kept out of view of even the civilian government. It was only a statement read out by Sartaj Aziz, Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharif's adviser on foreign affairs, that gave any details at all. It was also clear that Aziz was merely the messenger being used by the army.

Diplomatic ties between the neighbours have dipped significantly since Pakistan snubbed India on the Pathankot attack. A summer of violence in J&K, sponsored by Pakistan, followed by the Uri attack and then the surgical strikes took ties even lower.

With a new army chief in place in Rawalpindi, India believed things might get easier. In recent weeks, prisoners have been exchanged and it looked like a new operating balance could be achieved. Then, things went south again when ISI goons abducted two elderly clerics of Delhi's Nizamuddin dargah, who were only released after a lot of noise by India. The Jadhav verdict came out of the blue, leaving questions about the timing, intent and direction of India-Pakistan relations.

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