New Delhi, Dec 25: More than a year after he was arrested by Pakistani forces on charges of espionage, Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav was allowed to meet his mother and wife in Islamabad. The meeting, which took place at Pakistan Foreign Ministry in Islamabad, lasted for about 30 minutes.
Images of Kulbhushan Jadhav, wearing a blue-coloured suit, and his family sitting in front of each other was all over Pakistani media. A glass wall separated Jadhav and his family. The former Navy officer, who was awarded death sentence by a Paksitani military court earlier this year, was only allowed to speak to his mother and wife over intercom. Jadhav’s family would return to India later in the evening.
Hours before the scheduled meeting, Pakistan’s Geo TV quoted Foreign Minister Khwaja M Asif, as saying that his country has given India consular access to Jadhav. However, New Delhi refuted Asif’s remark and said there is no information about any such move. Moments later, Pakistan media quoted country’s foreign office as saying that there was no such move by the government.
Indian Deputy High Commissioner JP Singh is also accompanying Jadhav’s family during the Islamabad visit. Pakistan denied India’s request of consular access nineteen times in the past. Pakistan’s contention was that India might extract information from its “spy”. In its submission to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), Pakistan had said that the provisions of providing consular access under Vienna convention were not applicable to spies. (Also Read: Pakistan releases Kulbhushan Jadhav’s second ‘confessional’ video, claims he confesses to espionage)
A Mumbai-based former naval officer-turned-businessman, Jadhav was arrested on March 3, 2016, and was sentenced to death on April 10, 2017, by a Pakistani military court on charges of espionage and terrorism. India approached the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against the Pakistan military’s court’s verdict.
After persistent demands by New Delhi, the Pakistan government finally permitted the meeting terming it as “purely on humanitarian grounds”.
India has maintained Jadhav’s innocence and said he was kidnapped from Iran where he had gone for handling his businesses after superannuation from the Indian Navy. (Also Read: Pakistan military court is a banana court giving baseless judgement, Says Asaduddin Owaisi)
Despite the death verdict, Pakistan last week reiterated that he was not under a threat of an immediate execution as his mercy petitions were still pending.