New Delhi, July 2: Pakistan, yet again, rejected India’s request for the consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav on Saturday. The ex-naval officer, Jadhav, was sentenced to death in April this year under charges of espionage and terrorism. India had requested Pakistan to grant full and early consular access to Jadhav on Saturday as the two countries exchanged lists of prisoners lodged in each other’s jails. Also Read - After Pakistan Admits Role in Pulwama Attack, India Says it Needs to be Blacklisted in FATF
If reports are to be believed, Pakistan has turned down at least five consular access requests by India since the arrest of Jadhav from Balochistan province in 2016. Also Read - 'Ghus ke Maara': Pakistan Minister Brags About Pulwama Attack in National Assembly, Changes Tone
A report in The Hindu quotes Pakistani foreign office spokesman Nafees Zakariya as claiming that India’s attempt to equate Jadhav’s case with civilian prisoners and fishermen is a travesty of logic. He also said that commander Jadhav is a serving Indian Naval officer and was sent to Pakistan by RAW for espionage, terrorism and subversive activities. Also Read - Gen Bajwa's Legs Were Shaking: Pakistan Leader Says Imran Khan Govt Freed Abhinandan 'Out of Fear'
He said Pakistan ensured the effective implementation of bilateral consular agreement with India, while India deliberately delayed the release of civilian Pakistani prisoners. He also blamed India for delaying the release of two juvenile Pakistani prisoners Babar Ali and Ali Raza for almost a year, despite their release by Indian courts.
The list shared by India on Saturday also included the name of Mumbai-based software engineer Hamid Nehal Ansari who is lodged in a Pakistani jail for allegedly crossing the international borders. As per PTI, the list has the names of 546 Indian nationals, most of them are fishermen, who are in Pakistani jails for last several years.
“On Saturday, India again requested Pakistan to grant full and early consular access to the Indian nationals lodged in the custody of Pakistan, including Hamid Nehal Ansari and Kulbhushan Jadav,” the External Affairs Ministry said in a statement in Delhi.
Kulbhushan Jadhav is former Naval officer turned businessman. He was arrested by Pakistan police in 2016 and was sentenced to death by the country’s military court on charges of espionage and sabotage activities in April. Following this, India had challenged his conviction at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) that restrained Pakistan from executing him.