India Writes To Pakistan For Consular Access To Kulbhushan Jadhav and Four Other Prisoners
In a note, India has also asked Pakistan to immediately make necessary arrangements for the release and repatriation of 10 Indian civilian prisoners lodged in Pakistan jails whose nationality has been confirmed by it.
File photo of Kulbhushan Jadhav.
New Delhi: India on Tuesday wrote to Pakistan to grant it consular access to Indian prisoners, including Kulbhushan Jadhav, and immediately release 10 Indian civilian prisoners lodged in jails whose nationality has been confirmed by Islamabad.
Jadhav, a former Indian Navy officer, was awarded the death sentence by a Pakistani military court under Pakistan Army Act-59 (PAA- 59) on charges of espionage. India has, however, maintained that Jadhav is innocent. The hearing in his case last happened in February at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) headquarters in The Hague, amid high tensions between India and Pakistan, after the Pulwama attack in which 40 CRPF men were killed.
Sources confirmed that a note had been sent to the Pakistan High Commission regarding access to five prisoners — Mohammad Javaid, Abdul Hakeem, Muhammad Ismail, Salfikar Ali and Kulbhushan Jadhav.
“Consular access for two civilian prisoners in Rawalpindi, which was postponed by the Government of Pakistan, is still pending. It is requested that immediate consular access be provided to all those prisoners and fishermen held in Pakistan’s custody and awaiting consular access,” the MEA wrote.
“The Government of India has been providing consular access in a timely manner to esteemed High Commission officials to their prisoners in India. However, consular access to Indian fishermen and prisoners in Pakistan jails is inordinately delayed. Such delays cause avoidable delay in confirmation of their nationality and thus detrimental to timely release of prisoners and fishermen,” the MEA note said.
Further, the MEA note said that Pakistan had not responded to concerns from India regarding missing Indian defence personnel, including Prisoners of War, who India believes is in Pakistan’s custody.
“It is requested that necessary steps may be taken immediately to locate, release and repatriate the missing Indian defence personnel believed to be held in Pakistan custody,” the note added.
This is not the first time the MEA has written to Pakistan on the issue of consular access. In its recent note, it has also made mention of the previous notes sent on January 1, 2019, December 11, 2018 and November 13, 2018.
The MEA has asked Pakistan to “expedite the grant of visas to the members of the medical experts team, proposed to visit Pakistan to assess the mental condition of believed-to-be-Indian prisoners of unsound mind lodged in different jails of Pakistan, organise early visit of the Joint Judicial Committee to Pakistan; and also organise early the visit of the 4–member team to Karachi in connection with release and repatriation of 22 Indian fishing boats.”
The note also asked Pakistan to immediately make necessary arrangements for the release and repatriation of 10 Indian civilian prisoners lodged in Pakistan jails whose nationality has been confirmed by Pakistan.
“Further, there are 385 Indian fishermen, whose nationality has been confirmed and conveyed to the Government of Pakistan and who have been languishing in Pakistan jails despite completing their sentences. It is requested that urgent and concrete steps be taken to repatriate them to India at the earliest, along with their boats,” according to the note.
In the note, the MEA also accused Pakistan of not providing timely information on the death of Indian fishermen in Pakistani custody.
“The Government of Pakistan is urged to ensure the safety, security and medical well-being of all Indian fishermen/prisoners as their physical safety and security is the responsibility of the Government of Pakistan,” the MEA wrote.
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