India accepts Pakistan offer for consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav, hopes it’ll be fair
The access comes nearly 41 months after Jadhav turned up in the custody of Pakistani army which claimed that he had been caught for spying.Updated: Sep 02, 2019 11:14 IST
New Delhi has accepted Pakistan’s offer for consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav, the Indian sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court. The consular access comes nearly 41 months after Kulbhushan Jadhav turned up in the custody of Pakistani army which claimed that he had been caught for spying. Over the next three years, Pakistan refused to act on a string of requests from the Indian government for consular access to Jadhav. The International Court of Justice, or ICJ, finally ordered Pakistan in July to give an Indian diplomat access to Kulbhushan Jadhav under the Vienna Convention.
Gaurav Ahluwalia, the Charge d’ Affaires at the Indian high commission, will be meeting Kulbhushan Jadhav, Indian government sources said on Pakistan’s offer for consular access scheduled for later in the day.
“We hope that Pakistan will ensure right atmosphere so that the meeting is free, fair, meaningful and effective in keeping with the letter and spirit of the ICJ orders,” a government source said, a hint that New Delhi was, despite its acceptance, keeping its fingers crossed on the mechanics of the meeting.
Last month, India had turned down a conditional offer of consular access to demand “unimpeded” contact with the Indian national on death row “in an environment free from the fear of intimidation and reprisal”. In this version of consular access, the Pakistani side had conditioned the meeting, among others, on the presence of Pakistani officials and the use of audio and video devices to record the conversation.
New Delhi declined to pick the offer, pointing Islamabad to the world court’s July 17 verdict and the Vienna Convention on Consular Access.
The ICJ, also referred to as the top UN court, had ruled that Pakistan violated Jadhav’s rights to consular access, ordered Islamabad to grant him consular access and to compensate him for this wrong, called for a review of the death sentence given to him by a military court at an appropriate forum of Islamabad’s choice.
According to Pakistan, Jadhav was arrested by its security agencies in Balochistan in March 2016. He was charged spying and subversive activities and quickly tried in a military court, a trial that was compared by India to a ‘kangaroo court’. In April 2017, Islamabad announced Jadhav had been found guilty and sent to the gallows. India rejects the allegations against Jadhav and insists he was kidnapped by Pakistani operatives from the Iranian port of Chabahar, where he was running a business.