From the number of Indian diplomats to time allocated for consular access, and from privacy to physical contact, India and Pakistan are negotiating hard on consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav, a week after the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled in favour of India on the issue of consular access. Indian diplomats in Islamabad are at present discussing the terms and conditions of consular access to Jadhav with Pakistan government officials, sources told The Indian Express.
Jadhav is on death row.
Among the key issues under discussion, sources said, are how many Indian officials will conduct Jadhav’s interview, duration of their meeting, whether Pakistani officials will be present besides security personnel, whether there will be a glass partition between them, and whether they will be allowed to have physical contact.
The Pakistan foreign ministry has said that Islamabad will grant consular access to Jadhav “according to Pakistani laws”, for which modalities are being worked out.
India is arguing that Article 36 Paragraph 1(a) of Vienna Convention says that “consular officers shall be free to communicate with nationals of the sending State and to have access to them. Nationals of the sending State shall have the same freedom…to communication with and access to consular officers of the sending State.” India is the sending State in this case.
India has also pointed out that paragraph 1(c) of the Convention states, “consular officers shall have the right to visit a national of the sending State who is in prison, custody or detention, to converse and correspond with him and to arrange for his legal representation.” But Islamabad said it will follow “Pakistan’s laws” since Paragraph 2 of Article 36 of the Convention says, “rights referred to in paragraph 1 of this article shall be exercised in conformity with laws and regulations of the receiving State…” Pakistan is the receiving State.
On Thursday, MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar, said, “We expect that full consular access to Jadhav should be granted at the earliest in full compliance and conformity with the judgment of ICJ and the Vienna Convention. We are in touch with the Pakistani authorities in this regard…”
Sources said India does not want the meeting to become a sham, like the one in December 2017, when Jadhav’s mother and wife went to meet him.