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India Used 'Back-channel' to Urge Pakistan to Release Kulbhushan Jadhav, Says Harish Salve

File photo of Kulbhushan Jadhav.

File photo of Kulbhushan Jadhav.

The International Court of Justice had in July last year stayed the execution of former Navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav and allowed New Delhi consular access to him.

Former solicitor general of India Harish Salve, who represented captured Indian navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav in the International Court of Justice, revealed that India employed “back-channel” efforts to urge Pakistan to release Jadhav.

According to a report in The Indian Express, Salve said that India was hoping to "persuade" Pakistan to let Jadhav go through these back-channel attempts.

“We said, let him go. Because it’s become a big ego problem in Pakistan. We were hoping they would let him go, they haven’t.” Salve, was quoted as saying by The Indian Express.

The National Security Advisor Ajit Doval during one of his meetings with his Pakistani counterpart Nasser Khan Janjua had also “gently nudged” Pakistan to release Jadhav, the report added.

Salve said that India had come so far and Pakistan could not put Jadhav to death.  He added that India’s consular officers must be granted access.

The online discussion was conducted by Akhil Bharatiya Adhivakta Parishad, an all-India lawyers’ association linked with the RSS.

“Pakistan, till date, has refused to share the FIR, the chargesheet or the military court judgment,” Salve was quoted as saying.

In a victory for India, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) had in July last year stayed the execution of former Navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav and allowed New Delhi consular access to him. Stating that Pakistan had violated the Vienna Convention by not providing India with consular access to Jadhav, the ICJ directed Pakistan to review the death sentence ordered by a military court at a closed trial.

“I think we have reached a point where we may have to decide whether to go to ICJ for further consequential directions. Because Pakistan has not moved ahead," Salve added.

Jadhav, a former naval officer, was arrested by Pakistan agencies on charges of spying in March 2017. Pakistan claimed to have arrested Jadhav from the restive Balochistan province and accused him of being a spy. India insisted he was illegally detained while in Iran on business.