Kulbhushan Jadhav: the story so far

Kulbhushan Jadhav meets his mother, wife; meeting a humanitarian gesture, says Pakistan

In this photo released by Pakistan Foreign Ministry, Kulbhushan Jadhav meets his mother and wife. Photo: Dr. Mohammad Faisal/Twitter  

The wife and the mother of alleged Indian spy Kulbushan Jadhav met him for 40 minutes at the Foreign Office in Islamabad on Monday, for 40 minutes while Deputy Indian High Commissioner and Pakistani officials listened in on the conversation outside.

Mr. Jadhav and the family members spoke in a highly secured room, from either side of a glass partition.

Pakistani officials said the presence of Deputy High Commissioner J.P. Singh could not be taken as provision of consular access. Mr. Singh, who accompanied the visitors, was not allowed to speak or listen.

Foreign Office spokesman Mohammad Faisal told a media briefing after the meeting that the family was allowed to meet Mr. Jadhav as a humanitarian gesture.

Watch: Kulbhushan Jadhav thanks Pakistan govt for allowing him to meet his family
 

At the briefing, Dr. Faisal repeated the charges against Mr. Jadhav, facing a death sentence for alleged espionage and sabotage. India has denied the charges, saying Mr. Jadhav was a former Navy officer, pursuing business interests in Tehran from where he was abducted by Pakistani officials.

Dr. Faisal said Commander Jadhav, whom he described as an ‘Indian spy, a terrorist and a saboteur’, was a serving Indian naval officer sentenced to death for his involvement in ‘espionage, terrorism and subversive activities’ against Pakistan.

TV footage showed Mr. Jadhav’s mother Avanti and wife Chetankul entering the Foreign Affairs Ministry building’s Agha Shahi Block, accompanied by Mr. J.P. Singh and a Pakistani woman official. After they went in, the door shut behind them. Pakistan Foreign Office later released pictures of Mr. Jadhav talking to his wife and mother from behind a glass screen. The communication between them was through an intercom device.

The meeting started at around 1.35 pm local time (2.05 p.m. IST) and lasted about 40 minutes, after which Mr. Jadhav’s wife and mother were driven away in a white SUV.

The two women had arrived in Islamabad earlier in the day via Dubai on a commercial flight, and spent about 30 minutes at the Indian High Commission before being driven to the Foreign Office. Mr. Jadhav's family had a brief stop at the mission again before they headed to the airport to catch a flight to India.

They left Pakistan for Muscat by an Oman Airlines flight at 1944 hours (local time), said officials at the Benazir Bhutto International Airport here.

Dr. Faisal said the meeting was positive and the two sides talked thoroughly. “It is not the last meeting. It should be categorically registered,” he added.

A video of Mr. Jadhav played during the press conference was recorded before his meeting with his family, officials said. “I requested a meeting with my wife and mother and I am thankful to the Government of Pakistan for this gesture,” Mr. Jadhav said in the brief video message.

Meanwhile, Dr. Faizal told the briefing that Mr. Jadhav “He conducted these activities especially in Balochistan and Sindh Provinces. He confessed about his condemnable actions before a Judicial Magistrate and court. He also stated that he was tasked by the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), the Indian intelligence agency, to plan, coordinate and organise espionage, terrorism and sabotage aiming to destabilise and wage war against Pakistan. He made every effort to impede the efforts of the Law Enforcement Agencies and was eventually caught red-handed.”

Before the meeting, a security check of the family was conducted.

All the information about the meeting emerged through Pakistani Foreign Ministry tweets and images.

“The mother and wife of Commander Jadhav sitting comfortably in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Pakistan. We honour our commitments,” spokesman Faisal earlier tweeted along with a picture of the visitors. From Pakistan’s side, Foreign Office Director for India, Dr. Fareha Bugti, was present at the meeting.

The wife and mother greeted media persons with a namaste after arriving at the Ministry but did not respond to their questions. They also did not talk to the reporters while leaving the building, although journalists kept shouting questions.

“This meeting was not consular access as we had told India that its diplomat would see the meeting but was not allowed to speak or participate in it,” Dr. Faisal said.

Mr. Singh, who accompanied the visitors, was not allowed to speak or listen and he knew it, Dr. Faisal added.

“All decisions on consular access will be taken on the basis of law and interests of Pakistan,” he said in response to a question about granting consular access.

Pakistan has repeatedly denied India consular access to Mr. Jadhav on the ground that it was not applicable in cases related to spies.

Dr. Faisal said the meeting was positive and the two sides talked thoroughly. “It is not the last meeting. It should be categorically registered,” he added.

The video of Mr. Jadhav played during the press conference was recorded before his meeting with his family, officials said.

“I requested a meeting with my wife and mother and I am thankful to the Government of Pakistan for this gesture,” Mr. Jadhav said in the brief video message.

Mr. Jadhav was at the Ministry before his family arrived. It was not known where he had been kept before being transported to the Foreign Ministry.

TV footage showed a convoy of around seven vehicles escorting Jadhav’s family in the city.

Police and paramilitary security forces, including sharpshooters, were deployed at the ministry to deal with any untoward security situation, officials said.

Pakistan on December 20 issued visa to Jadhav’s wife and mother to visit Islamabad to meet him.

Jadhav was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of espionage and terrorism in April, following which India moved the ICJ in May. It is expected to hold another hearing in March or April.

Earlier today, Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif told a Pakistani media channel that Pakistan has granted India consular access to Jadhav since an Indian diplomat will be accompanying the prisoner’s wife and mother.

In India, officials downplayed the comments, maintaining that the Indian diplomat was only accompanying Jadhav’s family and it cannot be construed as “consular access”.

(With inputs from PTI)

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2021 11:23:43 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/kulbhushan-jadhav-meets-his-mother/article22274259.ece

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