Pakistan on Sunday rejected India’s request for consular access to former Indian Navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav for the 18th time. Jadhav, who was arrested from Pakistan’s Balochistan province in March 2016, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of espionage and terrorism in April 2017.
On Saturday, the two countries had exchanged lists of prisoners lodged in each other’s jails. India had, once again, sought consular access to Jadhav and Hamid Nehal Ansari, an Indian engineer and businessman who was sentenced to three years in jail for entering the country.
“India again requested Pakistan to grant full and early consular access to the Indian nationals lodged in the custody of Pakistan, including Hamid Nehal Ansari and Kulbhushan Jadhav,” the External Affairs Ministry said in a statement.
Pakistan’s Foreign Office said India was suppressing facts by calling “spy” Jadhav a “common prisoner”, reported GeoNews.
Its spokesman Nafees Zakariya said the attempt to equate Jadhav’s case with civilian prisoners and fishermen defied logic. “Commander Jadhav is a serving Indian Naval officer and sent to Pakistan by RAW for espionage, terrorism and subversive activities, which resulted in the loss of many innocent lives and damage to property,” he said in a statement issued in Islamabad.
In May 2017, Indian had taken the case to the International Court of Justice, saying that Pakistan had refused to give them consular access to Jadhav. The world court had also ordered Pakistan to grant India access to Jadhav, which has not been done so far. Although the ICJ’s stay on Jadhav’s execution was a huge relief, Pakistan has maintained that the United Nations has no jurisdiction in the case, even while saying that its order was not final.