New Delhi, July 16 (IANS) The Indian government said on Thursday that its officials in Islamabad have met Kulbushan Jadhav after they were assured “unimpeded and unconditional consular access” to the former naval officer, who has been sentenced to death by a Pakistan military court for his alleged involvement in espionage activities in 2016.
Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said: “India has been requesting for an unimpeded, unhindered and unconditional consular access to Kulbushan Jadhav. On the basis of assurances provided, our officials have proceeded for the meeting today.”
However, the government said it will assess the situation after the consular officials return and provide a report from Islamabad.
Earlier, Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry in a statement said that it provided second consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav at India’s request.
First consular access under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (VCCR) 1963 was provided by Pakistan on September 2, last year. The mother and wife of Jadhav were allowed to meet him on December 25, 2017.
The Pakistan government on Thursday claimed, “Two consular officers of the Indian High Commission in Islamabad were provided unimpeded and uninterrupted consular access to Commander Jadhav at 3 p.m.”
The statement said that Jadhav is in Pakistan’s custody following his arrest from Balochistan “in a counter-intelligence operation on March 3, 2016”.
The Pakistan Army has alleged that Jadhav is an Indian spy, involved in violent activities in Pakistan. In April 2017, Jadhav was sentenced to death by a military court. However, a month later in 2017, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) stayed the hanging of Jadhav. Last year, the ICJ directed Pakistan to allow consular access and effectively review the death sentence but rejected India’s appeal for Jadhav’s release.
On Thursday, Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said that it remains committed to fully implementing the ICJ’s judgment of July 17, 2019. “It is hoped that India will cooperate with the Pakistan court in giving full effect to the said judgement,” the statement said.