India Accepts Pakistan's Offer of Consular Access to Kulbhushan Jadhav, Hopes for 'Free, Fair' Meeting
Last week, India had asked for 'immediate, effective and unhindered' consular access to Jadhav from Pakistan and said that it was in touch with the neighbouring country through diplomatic channels.
People wait to hear the verdict in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case. (Reuters)
New Delhi: A day after Pakistan offered India consular access to retired Navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav, sources in the government said the proposal had been accepted. On Sunday, Pakistan Foreign Office Spokesperson Mohammad Faisal said Jadhav, who was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court, will get access on Monday "in line with the ICJ judgement and state laws".
"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," Faisal tweeted.
Sources aware of the development said, “India had been seeking consular access to Jadhav for the past three years. The matter of denial of consular access was taken to ICJ by India. The court gave a unanimous decision in favour of India.
“Today, after victory in the ICJ, India will be proceeding for consular access to Jadhav. Indian Charge d' Affaires, Shri Gaurav Ahluwalia, will be meeting Jadhav. We hope that Pakistan will ensure right atmosphere so that the meeting is free, fair, meaningful and effective in keeping with the letter and spirit of the ICJ orders.”
Pakistan's offer had come amidst fresh India-Pakistan tensions, which spiked after India abrogated provisions of Article 370 of the Constitution to revoke Jammu and Kashmir's special status and bifurcated it into two Union Territories.
Earlier, addressing a weekly media briefing on Thursday, Faisal 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 on Sunday doesn't say if the consular access is unhindered as demanded by India.
In July, the Hague-based ICJ ordered Pakistan to grant India consular access to Jadhav without further delay. Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar, at a media briefing, said: "We are in touch with the Pakistani side through diplomatic channels. Based on the judgment of the International Court of Justice, we had asked for immediate, effective and unhindered consular access." "Let us see the response we get from the Pakistani side," he added.
India had sent a communication to Pakistan, virtually turning down Islamabad's conditional offer of providing consular access to Jadhav. Earlier, Pakistan had offered India consular access to Jadhav. The offer had come two weeks after the ICJ had ordered Pakistan to grant India consular access to Jadhav without further delay.
Jadhav, 49, a retired Indian Navy officer, 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).
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