Pakistan Yet To Grant Consular Access To Kulbhushan Jadhav
Islamabad: A meeting between Indian High Commission officials and Kulbhushan Jadhav did not materialise on Friday amid differences between India and Pakistan on the terms of the consular access to the retired Indian Navy officer who is on death row.
Jadhav, 49, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of “espionage and terrorism” in April 2017 following which India had moved the International Court of Justice (ICJ), seeking a stay on his death sentence and further remedies.
On July 17, the ICJ ordered Pakistan to undertake an “effective review and reconsideration” of the conviction and sentence of Jadhav and also to grant consular access to India without further delay.
Diplomatic sources said the meeting was scheduled for 3 pm on Friday.
India had on Thursday sent a communication to Pakistan making clear its position that the consular access must be “unimpeded” and should be in the light of the judgement by the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
However, one of the conditions put by Pakistan reportedly was the presence of a Pakistani official when the Indian prisoner is allowed to meet Indian officials as part of the consular access.
On Thursday, Pakistan Foreign Office (FO) said Jadhav will be granted consular access on Friday.
“We have offered the Indian High Commission to avail consular access on this Friday. The reply from the Indian side is awaited,” Foreign Office spokesman Mohammad Faisal said at the weekly media briefing.
The FO has not officially explained why the meeting could not take place.
In its 42-page order, the world court, while rejecting Pakistan’s objection to admissibility of the Indian application in the case, held that “a continued stay of execution constitutes an indispensable condition for the effective review” of the sentence of Jadhav.
The bench, however, rejected some remedies sought by India, including annulment of the military court’s decision convicting Jadhav, his release and safe passage to India.
The ICJ upheld India’s stand that Pakistan had “breached” the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations, which gives countries the right to consular access when their nationals are arrested abroad.
Pakistan claims that 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.
By Sajjad Hussain