India says Jadhav-terrorist swap offer is Pakistan’s ‘imaginary lie’

NEW DELHI (Web Desk): India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson has described Pakistan’s assertion “an imaginary lie” that it received an offer to swap self-confessed Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav with a terrorist involved in Army Public School attack in Peshawar.

“You have already seen a press release issued by the Afghan National Security Adviser’s office. If you have gone through the press release, it seems this is one more addition to the long list of imaginary lies and stories created by the Pakistani establishment,” Raveesh Kumar was quoted in a Times of India report as saying in a weekly media briefing.

During an interview with Asia Society, Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif had disclosed that Pakistan was offered to exchange Jadhav with a terrorist involved in the 2014 Peshawar school attack. “The Afghan government has admitted that Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan has safe havens on Afghan soil and operates from there. The terrorist who killed children in APS in Peshawar, is in Afghan custody,” Asif had said.

The foreign minister further added, “The [Afghan] national security adviser told me we can exchange him for the terrorist you have, which is Kulbhushan Jadhav.”

The Times of India reported on Friday that Afghan forces had captured Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) Chief Mullah Fazlullah. It said a source had revealed that the Afghan national security adviser could have been hinting at swapping Fazlullah, wanted in Pakistan, in exchange for Jadhav to Pakistan’s foreign minister.

However, the Indian newspaper report also said that the office of Afghan National Security Adviser Mohammad Haneef Atmar issued a statement saying there was no mention or reference to India or an Indian citizen during his meeting with Asif on September 21 in New York.

“The two sides also discussed sanctuaries in Pakistan and exchange of the top five Taliban leaders detained in Pakistan. There was no mention or reference to India or an Indian citizen.”

Former Indian naval officer Jadhav was arrested last year in Balochistan and had has admitted his involvement in espionage, terrorist and subversive activities in the country.