Indian diplomats have been provided consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav, the Indian national sentenced to death by Pakistan military court on charges of espionage, sources told NDTV. The diplomats have been provided two-hour access to Kulbhushan Jadhav, they added. The is the second consular access; the first access was given in September 2019.
The development comes after India had asked Pakistan to give unconditional access to Mr Jadhav ahead of the July 20 deadline to file a review petition, sources added.
Earlier today, the Indian diplomats had reached the Pakistan Foreign Ministry to talk about the modalities of consular access.
Last week Pakistan had claimed that Kulbhushan Jadhav — sentenced to death by its military court – had refused to file a review plea and instead “preferred” to appeal for mercy.
India had rejected the claim, saying that it was proof of Islamabad’s “reticence” to implement the order of the International Court of Justice in “letter and spirit”.
New Delhi also said that he had been coerced by Islamabad to forego his rights to seek implementation of the judgment of the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
In July last year, the International Court of Justice had asked Pakistan to review the death sentence of Kulbhushan Jadhav, and suspended his death sentence meanwhile. The court also agreed with India’s stand that Pakistan had violated the Vienna convention by denying consular access to him after his conviction in a “farcical” closed trial.
At a media conference last week, Pakistan’s Attorney General Ahmed Irfan said Kulbhushan Jadhav was invited to file a review petition on June 17. But he “preferred to follow up on his pending mercy petition,” he said. Pakistan, he added, has offered him a second consular access.
“Kulbhushan Jadhav has been sentenced to execution through a farcical trial. He remains under custody of Pakistan’s military. He has clearly been coerced to refuse to file a review in his case,” the foreign ministry said.
“In a brazen attempt to scuttle even the inadequate remedy under the Ordinance, Pakistan has obviously coerced Shri Jadhav to forego his rights to seek an implementation of the judgment of the ICJ,” the ministry said.
In the past Pakistan, while granting counselor access, had insisted that English be the medium of language and Pakistani officials be present during the meeting. The deadline for filing a review plea ends on July 20.
In May, Pakistan passed an Ordinance to allow a High Court to review the sentence awarded by their military court.
According to the controversial ordinance, Pakistan had clarified that even Indian High commission officials, or a person authorised by Kulbhushan can file for an appeal in the said period and also had offered a consular access.
Pakistan, the foreign ministry said, had claimed that their laws “allowed for effective review and reconsideration” in face of Indian arguments. Now, after almost a year, “they have made a U-turn and issued an Ordinance to ostensibly provide for some sort of review,” a spokesperson of the foreign ministry said.
Kulbhushan Jadhav, a former Naval officer, was arrested by Pakistan the March 2016 and accused of “espionage” — a charge India rubbished. A year later, a Pakistani military court sentenced him to death. In April 2017, India took Pakistan to the world court and the next month, Mr Jadhav’s execution was stayed.
While Pakistan claimed Mr Jadhav was arrested from Baluchistan, India asserted that he was kidnapped from Iran, where he had business interests after retiring from the Navy. India also accused Pakistan of denying him consular access in violation of the Vienna Convention.