Pakistan silent on granting consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav

Pakistan kept mum on granting consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav, a day after Islamabad said it would allow Indian officials to meet the retired Navy officer on Friday.

Islamabad: Pakistan kept mum on granting consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav, a day after Islamabad said it would allow Indian officials to meet the retired Navy officer on Friday.

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Jadhav, 49, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of “espionage and terrorism” in April 2017 following which India had moved the International Court of Justice (ICJ), seeking a stay on his death sentence and further remedies.

On July 17, the ICJ ordered Pakistan to undertake an “effective review and reconsideration” of the conviction and sentence of Jadhav and also to grant consular access to India without further delay.

Following the ICJ order, India has asked Pakistan to grant full consular access to Jadhav at the earliest in “full compliance and conformity” of the world court’s verdict.

On Thursday, Pakistan Foreign Office (FO) said Jadhav will be granted consular access on Friday, two weeks after the world court ordered Islamabad to allow Indian officials to meet him.

“We have offered the Indian High Commission to avail consular access on this Friday. The reply from the Indian side is awaited,” Foreign Office spokesman Mohammad Faisal said at the weekly media briefing.

However, the FO on Friday remained silent on granting consular access to the Indian national.

India on Thursday sent a communication to Pakistan making clear its position that the consular access must be “unimpeded” and should be in the light of the judgement by the ICJ.

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There were reports that Pakistan had put some conditions to grant consular access to Jadhav.

One of the conditions reportedly was the presence of a Pakistani official when the Indian prisoner is allowed to meet Indian officials as part of the consular access.

In its 42-page order, the world court, while rejecting Pakistan’s objection to admissibility of the Indian application in the case, held that “a continued stay of execution constitutes an indispensable condition for the effective review” of the sentence of Jadhav.

The bench, however, rejected some remedies sought by India, including annulment of the military court’s decision convicting Jadhav, his release and safe passage to India.

The ICJ upheld India’s stand that Pakistan had “breached” the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations, which gives countries the right to consular access when their nationals are arrested abroad.

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Pakistan claims that its security forces arrested Jadhav from the restive Balochistan province on March 3, 2016 after he reportedly entered from Iran.

However, India maintains that Jadhav was kidnapped from Iran where he had business interests after retiring from the Navy.