The Ministry of External Affairs on Thursday accused Pakistan of not giving India “unimpeded, unhindered and unconditional” consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav as promised. Jadhav, a former naval officer, is on death row in Pakistan on charges of espionage.
The ministry said in a statement that Pakistani officials stayed near Jadhav and did not allow him to freely speak to the Indian consular officers who had gone to meet him. “It was also evident from a camera that was visible that the conversation with Shri Jadhav was being recorded,” the foreign ministry said.
“Shri Jadhav himself was visibly under stress and indicated that clearly to the Consular Officers,” the MEA said. “The arrangements did not permit a free conversation between them. The Consular Officers could not engage Shri Jadhav on his legal rights and were prevented from obtaining his written consent for arranging his legal representation.”
India also alleged that the consular officers were stopped from getting Jadhav’s written consent for arranging his legal representation.
Pakistan on Thursday granted India a second consular access to Jadhav. India had asked Pakistan for consular access to Jadhav before his July 20 deadline to file a review petition against his death sentence.
The foreign ministry said that Pakistan’s provision of consular access to Jadhav was neither credible nor meaningful. “It is clear that Pakistan’s approach to this matter continues to be obstructive and insincere,” the foreign ministry said. “It has not only violated its assurance to the ICJ to fully implement the 2019 judgement, but also failed to act in accordance with its own Ordinance. We reiterate our commitment to ensure the safe return of Shri Jadhav to India and will decide on a future course of action in the light of the events.”
Pakistan had claimed on July 8 that Jadhav had refused to file a review plea against his death sentence. India had rejected the claim. Foreign ministry Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava alleged that Jadhav had been coerced to forego his rights. “Jadhav has been sentenced to execution through a farcical trial,” Srivastava added. “He remains under custody of Pakistan’s military. He has clearly been coerced to refuse to file a review in his case.”
A Pakistan military court had sentenced Jadhav to death in April 2017. Jadhav’s execution was stayed after India moved the International Court of Justice against the verdict in May 2017. India had contended in the court in The Hague that the lack of consular access to Jadhav was a violation of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.
In its July 2019 judgement, the International Court of Justice had concluded that Pakistan had violated the Vienna Convention in its treatment of Jadhav and ordered Islamabad not to execute him at the moment. Following the court’s judgement, Pakistan allowed India access to the former naval officer.