Pakistan has reportedly ruled out a second consular access to Indian national and former naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav, who is on death row in Islamabad over allegations of spying and terrorism.
“There would be no second consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav,” Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Mohammad Faisal has reportedly said.
This comes over two weeks after India’s Deputy High Commissioner to Pakistan, Gaurav Ahluwalia on September 2 met Jadhav after Pakistan granted consular access to the Indian national in line with the International Court of Justice (ICJ) order on July 17.
Indian Charge d’Affaires Gaurav Ahluwalia had Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson (MoFA), Mohammad Faisal, ahead of his meeting with Kulbhushan Jadhav.
However, New Delhi was not impressed with the whole exercise and claimed that Jadhav appeared “under extreme pressure to parrot a false narrative to Pakistan’s untenable claims”.
”We will decide a further course of action after receiving a detailed report from our Cd’A and determining the extent of conformity to the ICJ directives,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar had said after the meeting.
Kumar said the consular access was a part of the binding obligations of Pakistan, as ordered by the ICJ, to ensure effective review and reconsideration of the conviction and sentence awarded to Jadhav through a “farcical process” by a military court in Pakistan.
Pakistan, however, claimed that there was no restriction on the language of communication between the Indian diplomat and Jadhav.
“Consular access was provided at 1200 hrs (PST) and lasted two hours in the presence of officials of the Government of Pakistan. In order to ensure transparency and in line with standard operating procedures and as conveyed to the Indian side in advance, the access was recorded,” the Pakistan foreign office said in a press release.
India had declined an August offer of consular access as Pakistan has set some conditions, like insisting that it will have its own person present during the meeting between Indian officials and Jadhav.
The consular access to the Indian prisoner came amid fresh Indo-Pak tensions after India abrogated Article 370 of the Constitution to revoke Jammu and Kashmir’s special status.
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) on July 17 ordered Pakistan not to execute Kulbhushan Jadhav and directed “effective review and reconsideration” of his conviction and the sentence awarded to him by a military court.
The world court, while rejecting all objections raised by Pakistan, directed it to grant consular access to Jadhav “without further delay”, while holding that it had “breached” the Vienna Convention in this regard by denying him this right.
The ICJ gave a detailed verdict rejecting all the objections of Pakistan, including one unanimously on the admissibility of the case and also the claims by Islamabad that India had not provided the actual nationality of Jadhav.
The verdict was 15 to one in favour of India – the lone dissenter being from Pakistan.
Pakistan has claimed that it arrested Jadhav on 3 March 2016 when he attempted to cross over into the country from the Saravan border in Iran in pursuit of targets set by his RAW handlers. New Delhi has rubbished Pakistan’s claim, asserting that the Indian national was abducted by Pakistani agencies from Iran where he was running a business.
Pakistan subsequently conducted a farcical trial of Jadhav in a military court and sentenced him to death. Pakistan Army chief, Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, had endorsed the death penalty for Jadhav in April 2017. Following this, India approached the ICJ.