Pakistan on Sunday claimed it had granted consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav, who was arrested in March 2016 on charges of espionage and terrorism, Geo News reported.
“Had India been in place of us, it would not have given us this concession,” Pakistan Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif told Geo News. According to Asif, they had granted India consular access a day ahead of Jadhav’s meeting with his mother and wife in Islamabad.
New Delhi, however, downplayed the Pakistan minister’s comments, saying that Indian Deputy High Commissioner JP Singh was only accompanying Jadhav’s family, which cannot be considered “consular access”. PTI reported.
Jadhav’s mother and wife will arrive in Islamabad from Dubai in a commercial flight later on Monday while he will be brought to the Pakistani Capital for the meeting. JP Singh will accompany the family. This will be Jadhav’s first contact with his family since his arrest.
On December 20, the Pakistan High Commission had issued visas to the duo to visit Islamabad on Monday. A Pakistani court had sentenced the 47-year-old former Indian Navy officer to death for espionage and terrorism.
“The mother and wife of Commander Jadhav are being provided with a meeting with him in light of Islamic traditions and based on purely humanitarian grounds,” Pakistan’s Foreign Office spokesperson Mohammad Faisal had earlier said. His mother and wife are expected to leave for India on Monday evening itself, Faisal said on Twitter on Saturday evening.
The Pakistan Foreign Office said it will provide video and photographs of the meeting. However, the duo will not be allowed to talk to the media.
The visit was arranged after weeks of talks between the two countries and eight months after Jadhav was sentenced. India had moved the International Court of Justice against the verdict in May, after which the court stayed his execution. A final verdict in the case is pending.
India has demanded consular access to Jadhav under the rules of the Vienna Convention – an international treaty on consular relations between independent states – but Pakistan has rejected the request repeatedly.
Friends and family of Jadhav in Mumbai organised a bike rally in his support on Sunday, PTI reported. The rally began from Arthur Road to Currey Road. “The bike rally and a human chain we formed are in support of our friend Kulbhushan Jadhav,” Subrato Mukherji, told PTI.