Islamabad: Pakistan said Sunday it will grant consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav, who is on death row in the country, on Monday ‘in line with the International Court of Justice (ICJ) judgement’.
The announcement came nearly six months after a meeting between Indian officials and Kulbhushan Jadhav did not materialise amid differences between New Delhi and Islamabad on the terms of the consular access to the retired Indian navy officer.
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 ICJ, seeking a stay on his death sentence and further remedies.
“Consular access for Indian spy Commander Kulbhushan Jadhav, a serving Indian naval officer and RAW operative, is being provided on Monday 2 September 2019, in line with Vienna Convention on Consular relations, ICJ judgement & the laws of Pakistan,” foreign office spokesman Mohammad Faisal tweeted. “Commander Jadhav remains in Pakistan’s custody, for espionage, terrorism and sabotage,” he added.
Earlier, addressing Thursday a weekly media briefing, Faisal had said that Pakistan and India were in contact on the ‘issue of granting consular access’ to Jadhav.
On the same day, India said it had asked for ‘immediate, effective and unhindered’ consular access to Jadhav from Pakistan and was in touch with the neighbouring country through diplomatic channels.
However, Faisal’s tweets Sunday don’t say if the consular access is unhindered as demanded by India.
Pakistan Foreign Office had said August 1 that the retired Indian Navy officer will be granted consular access the next day. However, the meeting, which was scheduled for 3.00pm August 2, did not materialize amid differences between India and Pakistan on the terms of the consular access to Jadhav.
The ICJ ordered Pakistan, July 17 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.
One of the conditions put by Pakistan reportedly was the presence of was the presence of one representative from its side when Jadhav meets Indian officials. India did not agree to the condition, making clear its position that the consular access must be ‘unimpeded’ and should be in the light of the judgement by the ICJ.
Pakistan claims that its security forces arrested Jadhav from the restive Balochistan province, 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.