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Published On: Mon, Sep 2nd, 2019

Indian official meets Kulbhushan Jadhav in Islamabad

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kulbhushan-jadhav-1563497599-1567401634NEW DELHI : India’s Deputy High Commissioner in Islamabad Gaurav Ahluwalia on Monday met death-row convict Kulbhushan Jadhav after Pakistan granted consular access to him “in line with the ICJ judgement”.
The meeting between Ahluwalia and the retired Indian Navy officer is currently underway at a sub-jail after Pakistan formally granted the consular access to him, the Dawn News reported.

Kulbhshan Jadhav appeared to be under “extreme pressure” to parrot a false narrative to bolster Pakistan’s untenable claims in his case, the External Affairs Ministry said on Monday, hours after a top Indian diplomat met him at a sub-jail for an hour.

The 49-year-old, on death row since April 2017, was allowed to meet an Indian diplomat for the first time today – weeks after the International Court of Justice ordered Pakistan to allow consular access.
Before meeting Jadhav, the senior Indian diplomat met Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson Mohammad Faisal at the foreign ministry. The meeting between Ahluwalia and Jadhav came a month after a similar interaction between Indian officials and the Indian prisoner failed to materialise amid differences between New Delhi and Islamabad on the terms of the consular access.

Charge d’ Affaires at the Indian High Commission in Islamabad Gaurav Ahluwalia met Jadhav after Pakistan granted consular access to the retired Indian Navy officer following a directive from the International Court of Justice.
“While we await a comprehensive report, it was clear that Jadhav appeared to be under extreme pressure to parrot a false narrative to bolster Pakistan’s untenable claims,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said.”We will decide a further course of action after receiving a detailed report from our Charge d’ Affaires and determining the extent of conformity to the ICJ directives,” he added.
Kumar said Monday’s consular access is a part of the “binding obligations” of Pakistan as ordered by the ICJ to ensure effective review and reconsideration of the conviction and sentence awarded to Jadhav through a “farcical process”.
He said MEA Minister S Jaishankar has spoken to Jadhav’s mother and briefed her about the latest developments. “The government remains committed to continue to work towards ensuring that Jadhav receives justice at the earliest and returns safely to India,” Kumar said.
Jadhav, a retired Indian Navy officer, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of espionage and terrorism in April 2017. Weeks later, India approached the ICJ against Pakistan for denial of consular access to Jadhav and to challenge the death sentence.
In its verdict in the case on July 17, the ICJ ordered Pakistan to undertake an “effective” review of the conviction and sentence of Jadhav and asked it to grant consular access to him without further delay. “The matter of denial of consular access was taken to ICJ by India. The court gave a unanimous decision in favour of India. Today, after victory in the ICJ, India will be proceeding for consular access to Jadhav,” said the source.

On August 1, Pakistan Foreign Office said Jadhav will be granted consular access the next day. However, India did not accept the offer due to certain conditions put by Islamabad for the meeting.

One of the conditions was the presence of a Pakistani official when Jadhav is allowed to meet Indian officials as part of the consular access. India did not agree to the condition, saying the access must be “unimpeded” and in the spirit of the ICJ judgement.

Pakistan has been trying to raise the issue at various international fora, but India has maintained that it is an internal matter. Pakistan claims its security forces arrested Jadhav from the restive Balochistan province on March 3, 2016 after he reportedly entered from Iran. However, India maintains that Jadhav was kidnapped from Iran where he had business interests after retiring from the Navy.
Since Mr Jadhav’s sentencing, Pakistan had released four videos, where he was seen confirming Pakistan’s claims that he was an agent of Research and Analysis Wing and an officer of the Indian Navy due to retire in 2022. In the last video released, soon after his mother and wife were allowed to meet him in Islamabad, Mr Jadhav is heard alleging that they were intimidated by accompanying Indian officials.
Pakistan had tried to play the videos during the hearings at the International Court, but the court forbade it.

Pakistan in egregious violation of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, 1963 on many counts. It was “part of the binding obligations of Pakistan”, Mr Kumar said. The ministry, Mr Kumar added, would decide on a further course of action after receiving a detailed report from the official and determining the extent of conformity to the directives of the International Court of Justice.
Kulbhushan Jadhav was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court, accused of espionage and terrorism. Pakistan said he was arrested from the the restive Balochistan province, where he was working as a spy for the external intel agency.
A month after the sentencing, India took Pakistan to the International Court, calling the trial farcial. Mr Jadhav, the government said, was kidnapped from Iran, where he was running a business. In July, in a verdict 15 to one in favour of India, the UN court said the death sentence should remain suspended until Pakistan effectively reviewed and reconsidered the conviction.(With Agency Inputs ).

 

 

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