After evaluating Islamabad’s proposal, India on Friday asked Pakistan to provide “unimpeded” consular access to former Indian Navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav, in an environment free from the “fear of intimidation”, sources in New Delhi said.
According to the sources, India has asked Pakistan to provide consular access to Jadhav in an environment free from fear of intimidation. Pakistan’s response to India’s communication is now awaited, the sources said.
“We have offered the Indian High Commission to avail consular access on this Friday. The reply from the Indian side is awaited,” Pakistan’s foreign ministry spokesperson Mohammad Faisal had said.
Pakistan said it would grant consular access “according to Pakistani laws”, for which the modalities were being discussed.
Asked about Pakistan’s offer, the Ministry of External Affairs’ official spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said: “We have received a proposal from Pakistan. We are, right now, evaluating the proposal, in view of the ICJ judgment. We will reply to Pakistan through diplomatic channels.”
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 ICJ.
On July 17, the Hague-based ICJ ordered Pakistan to undertake an “effective review and reconsideration” of Jadhav’s conviction and death sentence and asked it to grant consular access without further delay. The ICJ upheld India’s stand that Pakistan is in egregious violation of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, 1963 on several counts in the case.
The terms and conditions of the proposed consular access are not clear. According to sources, there are a number of issues on which discussions are being held between Indian diplomats in Islamabad and Pakistani government officials: how many Indian officials will conduct Jadhav’s interview; what will be the duration of their meeting; will officials from Pakistan, other than security personnel, be present; will there be a glass partition between them.