A meeting between Gaurav Ahluwalia, India’s Deputy High Commissioner in Pakistan, and former Indian Navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav was held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Islamabad, Dawn reported. Jadhav is on death row in Pakistan on espionage charges.
Ahluwalia is the charge d’affaires in the Indian embassy in Islamabad in the absence of High Commissioner Ajay Bisaria, who was expelled by Pakistan as a retaliatory measure after India revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir last month.
On Sunday, Pakistan’s foreign ministry had announced that Jadhav would get consular access “in line with the Vienna Convention on consular relations, International Court of Justice judgement and the laws of Pakistan”.
In July, the International Court of Justice had concluded that Pakistan had violated the Vienna Convention in its treatment of Jadhav. The court found that Pakistan had breached international laws by not providing India consular access to the former Navy officer, and ordered Islamabad not to execute him at the moment.
Before the meeting, unidentified Indian officials expressed hope that Pakistan would ensure the right atmosphere “so that the meeting is free, fair, meaningful and effective in keeping with the letter and spirit of the ICJ’s orders”, PTI reported.
In its judgement, the International Court of Justice had rejected India’s demands for Jadhav’s release, and instead said Pakistan would have to decide how to review his trial and conviction. Both India and Pakistan claimed the court’s verdict as their victories.
Last month, the Ministry of External Affairs had said it received a proposal from Pakistan to grant consular access to Jadhav. The access was to be granted the following day but it did not materialise due to differences between the two sides on the terms of access.
Jadhav was sentenced to death in 2016. His execution was stayed after India moved the international court against the verdict in May 2017. India contended in the court in The Hague that the lack of consular access was a violation of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. Article 36 of the convention says consular officers have the right to visit a national of their country detained or taken into custody on foreign shores “to converse and correspond with him and to arrange for his legal representation”.
India maintains that Jadhav was working on his private business in Iran when he was kidnapped by Pakistan.
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