India Seeks Environment Free from Intimidation as Pakistan Lays Down 3 Conditions for Consular Access
File photo of Kulbhushan Jadhav.
New Delhi: A day after Pakistan offered India consular access but with conditions to Kulbhushan Jadhav, who has been imprisoned in Pakistan on espionage charges since March 2016, India Friday declined the possibility of a monitored meeting and asked Pakistan to provide unimpeded access to the former Indian Navy officer in light of the orders of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), sources said.
More than 10 days after the ICJ verdict that Pakistan must undertake an “effective review and reconsideration” of Jadhav’s conviction and sentencing, and grant consular access to him without delay, Pakistan on Thursday agreed to grant Jadhav access but “according to Pakistani laws”, laying down three conditions.
Pakistan wants one of their officers present in the meeting and also wants CCTV cameras installed as was the case when Jadhav’s family had met him.
According to sources, India responded by saying that Pakistan must provide consular access to Jadhav in an environment “free from the fear of intimidation and reprisal”. A response from Pakistan is now awaited.
India has argued that Article 36 Paragraph 1(a) of the Vienna Convention says that “consular officers shall be free to communicate with nationals of the sending State and to have access to them. Nationals of the sending State shall have the same freedom…to communication with and access to consular officers of the sending State.”
Both India and Pakistan, in the past weeks, have been negotiating terms and conditions of granting Jadhav consular access. India, sources said, has maintained that access can certainly cannot be the way access was provided to Jadhav’s mother and wife. Pakistan maintains that whatever would be done would be in accordance with the laws of the land as was directed by the ICJ.
Since his imprisonment, Jadhav was allowed to meet his mother and wife only once at the Pakistan foreign office on December 25, 2017. In the meeting, which lasted for close to 35 minutes, Jadhav spoke to his family through an intercom as a glass screen separated them. India had then downplayed Islamabad’s claims that it had granted consular access to Jadhav, arguing that allowing an Indian official to be present at the meeting doesn’t construe as consular access.