Pakistan said Thursday it had no plans on giving India another consular access to former Navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav who has been sentenced to death by a military court on charges of “espionage and terrorism”.
On September 2, in the first instance of consular access granted to Jadhav in three years by Pakistan, India’s Acting High Commissioner in Islamabad Gaurav Ahluwalia met the detained Indian national.
“There would be no second consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav,” Pakistan foreign ministry spokesperson Mohammad Faisal said during a weekly press briefing.
Reacting to the statement, MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said, “We will keep trying that judgment of ICJ is fully implemented. We would like to remain in touch with the Pakistani side through diplomatic channels.”
Pakistan has accused Jadhav, a former Indian Navy officer, of espionage while India has maintained that he was running a business in Iran from where he was abducted and illegally taken to Pakistan.
Pakistan on September 2 had granted the consular access to Jadhav in line with the “Vienna Convention and the International Court of Justice (ICJ) verdict”. After the meeting, New Delhi said Jadhav appeared to be under “extreme pressure” to support Islamabad’s “false narrative” in his case.
“Jadhav appeared to be under extreme pressure to parrot a false narrative to bolster Pakistan’s untenable claims,” Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said.
Islamabad’s previous move to grant consular access in early August was refused by New Delhi as it had asked the neighbouring country for “unimpeded” consular access in an “environment free from the fear of intimidation and reprisal”, in line with a ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
Meanwhile, Pakistan foreign ministry spokesperson Mohammad Faisal also announced that Pakistan would charge $20 per person as service fee for the Kartarpur Corridor. “Pakistan will charge $20 per person as service fees, not entrance fees, for Kartarpur Corridor,” Faisal said.
The statement comes after the two countries failed to iron out their differences over the Kartarpur corridor in a recent meet on September 3. The corridor is scheduled to open in November. In a high-level meeting at Attari, while Pakistan agreed to visa-free year-round travel of pilgrims, irrespective of faith, to the Kartarpur Sahib Gurudwara, it had continued to insist on charging a service fee.
MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said the Indian side had urged Pakistan to show some flexibility. “Pakistan did not also agree to initial number which we had proposed, that this is the number that should be allowed to visit, citing constraints on the infrastructure side. We have urged Pakistan to show some flexibility,” he said.