Pakistan did not allow free access to Kulbhushan Jadhav: India

In this March 29, 2016 photo, an image of Kulbhushan Jadhav is displayed during a press conference in Islamabad.   | Photo Credit: AFP

India on Thursday accused Pakistan of not allowing free and unimpeded consular access to death row prisoner Kulbhushan Jadhav

India had demanded that access should be without interference from Pakistani security officials but official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs Anurag Srivastava said the circumstances of the meeting did not allow them to get Mr. Jadhav’s consent for legal representation.

Also read | Kulbhushan Jadhav coerced into refusing appeal, says India

The consent is necessary for filing a review plea against the death sentence. 

“The consular officers were not given unimpeded, unhindered and unconditional access to Shri Jadhav. On the contrary, Pakistani officials, with an intimidating demeanour, were present in close proximity of Shri Jadhav and consular officers despite the protests of the Indian side. It was also evident from a camera that was visible that the conversation with Shri Jadhav was being recorded,” said the spokesperson. 

The Indian official said Mr. Jadhav was “visibly under stress and indicated that clearly to the consular officers”. “The arrangements did not permit a free conversation between them. The Consular Officers could not engage Shri Jadhav on his legal rights and were prevented from obtaining his written consent for arranging his legal representation,” said Mr. Srivastava.

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

Earlier reports had suggested that Pakistan was willing to consider a review petition through a legal representative to appeal against the death sentence given to Mr. Jadhav by a military tribunal but the absence of written consent makes the prospect of a legal representative impossible. In view of the difficulties in the meeting, the two diplomats, Charge d’Affaires Gaurav Ahluwalia and First Secretary Cherakung Zeliang left the meeting after protesting against the intimidation from the Pakistani side. 

Pakistan has claimed the second consular access to Mr. Jadhav went as planned. The first consular access was provided on September 2, 2019 during which India had complained about Pakistani interference. “Two consular officers of the Indian High Commission in Islamabad were provided unimpeded and uninterrupted consular access to Commander Jadhav at 3 p.m.,” claimed a press release issued from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan. Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in a TV interview however claimed that India is not serious about the process.

Pakistan claims that Mr. Jadhav was involved in fomenting violence in its territory. India maintains that he is a former navy official who had retired from service and was conducting personal business in the Iranian port of Chabahar when he was abducted by Pakistan. India had taken the case to the International Court of Justice which had ordered Pakistan to grant consular access to him. Pakistan said on Thursday that it remains committed to implementing the July 17, 2019 ICJ judgment

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Printable version | Sep 22, 2021 2:07:49 AM |

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