India again seeks consular access over Kulbhushan Jadhav

Islamabad has not informed New Delhi about Jadhav’s physical well being and location

Published - April 20, 2017 11:51 pm IST - NEW DELHI

New Delhi: File photo of former Indian naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav who has been sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of 'espionage'. PTI Photo (PTI4_11_2017_000103B)

New Delhi: File photo of former Indian naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav who has been sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of 'espionage'. PTI Photo (PTI4_11_2017_000103B)

India has made a 15th request to Pakistan for consular access to the former Navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav, who was sentenced to death for alleged espionage and sabotage.

A External Affairs Ministry spokesperson said the request for consular access and the process of appeal was made on Wednesday. He maintained that Pakistan had not informed India about Mr. Jadhav’s physical condition and location.

“We would like to know officially, what are the options in terms of the process of appeals and how that can be exercised [in Pakistan],” said spokesperson Gopal Baglay, revealing the demands that India had communicated to Islamabad during the meeting with the Deputy High Commissioner of Pakistan in Delhi. However, he maintained that Mr. Jadhav’s health and wellbeing were a cause of worry for India.

‘No information’

“We have no information about where is Kulbhushan ji in Pakistan. His health and condition are matters of deep worry for us. Including yesterday [Wednesday], we have sought consular access for 15 times,” said Mr. Baglay, explaining that the consular meeting was necessary to find out about Mr. Jadhav’s health as it was a normal practice in cases of all bilateral prisoners. Consular access, he said, was necessary also to find out Mr. Jadhav’s opinion as he had been accused of special allegations that were baseless.

Details of proceedings

“As Pakistan has been claiming of legal proceedings against Mr. Jadhav, we would also like to see what are the details of the proceedings from the Government of Pakistan,” Mr. Baglay said.

This presentation happened a day after Pakistan postponed a meeting between Indian High Commissioner Gautam Bambawale and Foreign Secretary of Pakistan Tehmina Janjua. The meeting was postponed at the last moment after Indian officials held a meeting in Delhi with the Deputy High Commissioner of Pakistan in Delhi. Sources, however, maintained that the government was currently exploring several options about freeing Mr. Jadhav.

Pakistan’s charges

The Ministry downplayed Pakistani allegations that its nationals in Indian custody had been denied consular access. The spokesperson pointed out that there were many Pakistani prisoners in Indian custody who had committed serious crimes against the Indian state but it was not yet known if Pakistan had availed the option of consular access.

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