A day after Pakistan offered consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav, India on Friday said it has asked Pakistan to provide “unimpeded” consular access in an “environment free from the fear of intimidation and reprisal”, in sync with the ruling by the International Court of Justice, official sources said on Friday.
According to sources, the negotiations between Delhi and Islamabad are mainly stuck over the “privacy” of the meeting between Indian officials and Jadhav. “Basically, we don’t want anyone to listen in to our conversation (with Jadhav),” a top source told The Indian Express.
There are a number of issues on which discussions are being held between Indian diplomats in Islamabad and Pakistani government officials: will officials from Pakistan, other than security personnel, be present; will there be a glass partition between them, and will there be an audio-visual recording of the discussion.
The two sides are also discussing the question of how many Indian representatives will conduct Jadhav’s interview and what will be the meeting’s duration.
India has reasoned that Article 36, Paragraph 1(a) of the 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 with respect to communication with and access to consular officers of the sending state.” India is the sending state in this case.
New Delhi has also pointed out that Paragraph 1(c) says that “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 has said it is going to follow “Pakistan’s laws” since Article 36, Paragraph 2 says that “the rights referred to in Paragraph 1 of this Article shall be exercised in conformity with the laws and regulations of the receiving state, subject to the proviso, however, that the said laws and regulations must enable full effect to be given to the purposes for which the rights accorded under this Article are intended.” Pakistan is the receiving state.
Sources said India does not want the meeting to become a sham and a propaganda exercise, like the one which took place in December 2017.