Today's Paper

India seeks access to Jadhav

India on Friday again sought consular access to former Navy official Kulbhushan Jadhav now facing the gallows in Pakistan, which has not addressed 13 earlier requests for the same. Islamabad accused Mr. Jadhav of carrying out attacks inside Pakistan since 2014-15 but said that he will have the chance to appeal for mercy.

“We have stated that he [Jadhav] is an Indian national and as per international law and humanitarian considerations, let us at least have consular access to him,” Gautam Bambawale, Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan said, after a meeting with Foreign Secretary of Pakistan Tehmina Janjua.

No swap plan: Envoy

Mr. Bambawale denied knowledge of any plan to exchange Mr. Jadhav for a Pakistani intelligence official in Indian custody and sought more information from Pakistan about the charges against him.

“Till date, we have not been informed of the charges against him. At least give [us] the charge sheet to see what are the charges against him,” Mr. Bambawale said, speaking in Hindi to the Pakistani media after his meeting.

The Hindu had earlier reported that Pakistan had not shared any information about the physical conditions of the former naval official and India had therefore begun planning a request for consular access.

However, Pakistan has not indicated that it would give a positive response to the latest request and a press release from the office of the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan claimed that Mr. Jadhav has admitted to his ‘involvement in subversive activities.’

“The Foreign Secretary underscored that the Pakistanis incarcerated in Indian prisons have not been provided consular access for years, despite repeated requests and follow-up by the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi,” the release stated.

The Ministry of External Affairs stated that consular access is necessary to find out more about the case against Mr. Jadhav. But in an elaborate defence of Pakistan’s position, Sartaj Aziz, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs, has said that Mr. Jadhav has the right to appeal for mercy.

“As per law… he has the right to appeal within 40 days to an Appellate Court. He may lodge a mercy petition to the COAS (Chief of Army Staff) within 60 days of the decision by the appellate court. He may lodge a mercy petition to the President of Pakistan within 90 days after the decision of COAS on the mercy petition,” said Mr. Aziz.

Mr. Aziz also stated that India had not responded to a Pakistan request on the case. “Letter of Assistance requesting specific information and access to certain key witnesses was shared with the Government of India on 23 January, 2017. There has been no response from the Indian side so far,” he said.

‘Serving official’

Pakistan also claimed that contrary to India’s claims, Mr. Jadhav is a serving official of the Indian Navy and conducted a series of attacks against Pakistan since 2014-15, especially in Balochistan.

“Kulbhushan Jadhav has sponsored explosions of gas pipelines and electric pylons in Sibi and Sui areas in Balochistan,” alleged Mr. Aziz.