Pakistan on Monday went back on its statement from a day earlier that it had granted Kulbhushan Jadhav consular access. After the former Indian Navy officer met his wife and mother in Islamabad, Spokesperson for Pakistan’s Foreign Affairs Ministry Mohammad Faisal said it was a humanitarian meeting and consular access had not been granted.
Citizens of a country are allowed consular access or communication with consular officials of their own country if they are arrested in a foreign land, according to the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations of 1963.
“Pakistan permitted the Indian request totally on humanitarian grounds in line with Islamic principles and teachings,” Faisal said, according to Dawn. “It was a gesture of good faith and compassion. It has nothing to do with consular access.”
“The Indian diplomat, JP Singh, was present and could see the meeting, but he was not allowed to meet Jadhav,” the Foreign Office spokesperson said at a press conference. “We extended the meeting by 10 minutes on Jadhav’s request.”
Faisal also called Jadhav the “face of Indian terrorism in Pakistan”.
On Sunday, Pakistan had claimed it had granted Jadhav consular access by allowing the deputy high commissioner of India to accompany the women to the meeting. India had disagreed.
This was Jadhav’s first contact with his family since his arrest in March 2016 on charges of espionage and terrorism. Indian Deputy High Commissioner JP Singh accompanied the family on the trip. The meeting lasted less than an hour.
Jadhav was allowed to speak to his mother and wife through a glass wall. Faisal said this was done for “security reasons”. “We had already told them that you will be able to meet them, but a security barrier would be there,” he said.
India and Pakistan arranged the visit after weeks of talks and eight months after Jadhav was sentenced to death. His mother and wife arrived in Islamabad from Dubai in a commercial flight on Monday.
India had moved the International Court of Justice against Pakistan’s verdict in May, after which the court stayed Jadhav’s execution. A final verdict in the case at the ICJ is pending.