Kulbhushan Jadhav, the Indian national sentenced to death in Pakistan, will be allowed to meet his wife and mother on December 25. An Indian High Commission official will also be allowed to be present at the meeting, confirmed the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), stating that the request for meeting was made on November 13.
This will be the first contact between the former Navy officer with his family or Indian diplomats after his arrest by the Pakistan Army last year on charges of espionage. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj tweeted: “Pakistan has agreed to facilitate the visit of mother and wife of Jadhav and assured us of their safety, security and freedom of movement in Pakistan…I have spoken to Mrs. Avantika Jadhav mother of Kulbhushan Jadhav and informed her about this”.
Pakistan’s foreign office had earlier this month said it will allow Jadhav to meet his wife. Responding to Pakistan’s offer, India requested that his mother be allowed to meet him too. Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj recently met the Pakistani High Commissioner Sohail Mahmood in this regard.
Welcoming Pakistan’s decision, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said the next step will be to consult Jadhav’s mother and wife to work out the modalities of their visit. “It is a good news as far as we are concerned. We have been seeking access for both the mother and wife for a long time. We are happy that it has been considered and access is being given (to Jadhav),” he said at a press briefing. Kumar said Pakistan’s decision was a “positive development” as far as access part is concerned. It is not clear whether the Indian diplomat, accompanying the duo, will be given access to Jadhav.
Last month, India had sought sovereign guarantee from Pakistan to ensure safety, security of both Jadhav’s mother and wife if they visit him. Jadhav, 47, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani Army court in April, following which India moved the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in May. The ICJ halted his execution on India’s appeal pending the final verdict.
Pakistan has repeatedly denied India consular access to Jadhav on the ground that it was not applicable in cases pertaining to spies. Jadhav filed an appeal with Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa for clemency, which is still pending. In October, the Pakistan Army had said it is close to a decision on the mercy petition.
Pakistan claims its security forces arrested Jadhav from Balochistan province on March 3 last year 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.