DELHI/ ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has finally offered India consular access to Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav, the government confirmed Thursday. While Islamabad said it was awaiting India’s response to the offer, which would allow Indian officials to meet Jadhav at 3.30 pm Friday, India said it was still “evaluating’’ the Pakistan proposal.
However, Islamabad is unlikely to allow Indian officials to speak to Jadhav in private. It has basically laid down 3 conditions. First, the presence of a Pakistani official in the room where Indian officials will speak to Jadhav. Second, the room to have CCTVs and, third, also sound recording facilities. This means that Pakistan authorities will be able to listen to every word of the conversation. Pakistan apparently thinks that this is in line with “universal” practices and also in keeping with India’s own laws.
It remains to be seen if India agrees to these conditions.
“We are evaluating the Pakistan proposal in light of the ICJ judgment. We will maintain communication with Pakistan on this through diplomatic channels,’’ said MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar.
“We cannot discuss the modalities. We will assess and evaluate the conditions laid down meeting in mind the ICJ ruling and then respond accordingly. Whatever response is to be sent will be given by us timely through diplomatic channels,’’ the official added.
While both sides didn’t want to discuss the modalities in public, sources said Pakistan was insisting on the presence of a Pakistani official at the time Indian officials speak to Jadhav.
The ICJ judgment on July 17 had held Pakistan guilty of having violated Vienna Convention on Consular Relations and called for consular access to Jadhav. Pakistan had responded by saying it was going to work out the modalities for consular access in line with Pakistani laws.
Addressing a weekly press briefing on Thursday in Islamabad, the Foreign Office (FO) spokesperson Mohammad Faisal said that work was being done on granting consular access to Jadhav and that measures in this regard were being taken in accordance with last month’s decision of the International Court of Justice (ICJ). He said India was informed that Jadhav could be granted consular access on August 2
In its 42-page ruling, the ICJ, while calling for an effective review and reconsideration of the conviction and death sentence to Jadhav, had ruled that Pakistan had violated the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations by denying India consular access to Jadhav.
Pakistan claims that its security forces arrested Jadhav from its Balochistan province on March 3, 2016 after he reportedly entered from Iran.
India has maintained though that Jadhav was kidnapped from Iran where he had business interests after retiring from the Navy.