Pakistani authorities on Friday offered to grant India consular access to former naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav, who has been on death row in the neighbouring country since 2017, Dawn reported. India got consular access to Jadhav on Thursday, but the officials who had gone to meet him left without doing so, alleging that they were not provided “unimpeded access”.
On Friday, Pakistan Foreign Office Spokesperson Aisha Farooqui confirmed that India has been offered a third consular access, this time without the presence of a security guard. Farooqui said a written offer has been made to India and a response is awaited. She described the offer as a “goodwill gesture”.
In a statement released on Thursday, the Foreign Office had claimed that officers of the Indian High Commission were provided “unimpeded and uninterrupted access” to Jadhav at 3 pm local time (3.30 pm Indian Standard Time).
“India’s ill intentions have come to light,” Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi claimed after the diplomats left without meeting Jadhav. “They didn’t want consular access. [Jadhav] kept asking the Indian diplomats to talk to him and they left.”
India’s Ministry of External Affairs had said on Thursday 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,” India had 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, and 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 MEA had said.
The case so far
A Pakistan military court had sentenced Jadhav to death in April 2017 for allegedly spying for India. 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.
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 had alleged that Jadhav had been coerced to forego his rights.