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Saturday 18 January 2020

Pakistan to grant consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav

Pakistan is awaiting Indian response after it formally informed the Indian High Commission: Foreign Office spokesman Mohammad Faisal

Islamabad: Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav, who is on death row in Pakistan, will be granted consular access by Friday, Foreign Office spokesman Mohammad Faisal said on Thursday.

Jadhav, 49, a retired Indian Navy officer, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of “espionage and terrorism” in April 2017 following which India had moved the International Court of Justice (ICJ), seeking a stay on his death sentence and further remedies.

“Pakistan is awaiting Indian response after it formally informed the Indian High Commission here,” Faisal said at the weekly media briefing.

The move comes two weeks after the ICJ ordered Pakistan on 17 July to undertake an “effective review and reconsideration” of the conviction and sentence of Jadhav and also to grant consular access to India without further delay. India had received a shot in the arm at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the case of retired Indian Navy officer-turned-entrepreneur Kulbhushan Jadhav.

The court had told Pakistan that it ought to revise his capital punishment. In effect, legally, the stay that the ICJ had put on Jadhav’s execution still holds. Legal adviser to the world court Reema Omer said that the stay on Jadhav’s capital punishment would hold until Pakistan demonstrated comprehensively that it had revised its court verdict.

In its 42-page ruling, the ICJ ruled that Pakistan had “breached” the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations, which gives countries the right to consular access when their nationals are arrested abroad.

Pakistan claims that its security forces arrested Jadhav from restive Balochistan province on 3 March 2016 after he reportedly entered from Iran. However, India maintains that Jadhav was kidnapped from Iran where he had business interests after retiring from the Navy.

When the case drew public attention nationwide, Sirf News had commented in an editorial, “Repeating its older act of making Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav ‘confess’ on camera, Pakistan has once again released a video where a visibly shaken, alleged spy is wondering why India is denying the reason for ‘sending him to foment trouble’ in the neighbouring country. The habitually lying country forgets that such ‘evidence’ was dismissed as inadmissible at the International Court of Justice where Pakistan lost the case to India. It is nobody’s case that the two hostile nations don’t have moles planted in enemy territories, but Jadhav’s story, as told by Pakistan, sounds a big stretch of imagination of that country.”

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