The Ministry of External Affairs on Monday said Kulbhushan Jadhav appeared to be under extreme pressure to “parrot a false narrative to bolster Pakistan’s untenable claims”, reported ANI. The ministry’s statement came hours after India’s Deputy High Commissioner in Pakistan Gaurav Ahluwalia met the former Indian Navy officer in Islamabad. Jadhav is on death row in Pakistan on espionage charges.
This is the first time an Indian diplomat was allowed consular access to Jadhav.
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.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar also briefed Jadhav’s mother on Monday’s developments. “We’ll decide a further course of action after receiving a detailed report from our Charge d’ Affaires and determining the extent of conformity to the ICJ directives,” said the ministry.
The ministry said the government was committed towards ensuring that Jadhav receives justice at the earliest and returns safely to India. Monday’s consular access to Jadhav is part of Pakistan’s binding obligations as ordered by the International Court of Justice, said the ministry.
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.
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.
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”.
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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