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Pakistan allows Kulbhushan Jadhav to meet wife, mother on Christmas day

Kulbhushan Jadhav, a former Indian Navy officer, was sentenced to death in April by a Pakistani military court for alleged involvement in espionage and subversive activities.

india Updated: Dec 08, 2017 17:48 IST
Imtiaz Ahmad and Jayanth Jacob
Imtiaz Ahmad and Jayanth Jacob
Hindustan Times, Islamabad/New Delhi
Pakistan,Kulbhushan Jadhav,India
The International Court of Justice at The Hague had in May stopped Pakistan from executing Kulbhushan Jadhav till it gives a ruling on India’s petition challenging his death sentence.

Pakistan on Friday said it will allow Kulbhushan Jadhav, sentenced to death by a military court for alleged involvement in spying, to meet his wife and mother on December 25, a move described by officials in New Delhi as a positive development.

Foreign Office spokesman Mohammad Faisal told a news briefing in Islamabad that “requisite security” will be provided to Jadhav’s mother and wife, who will be accompanied by an Indian diplomat.

This is the first time Jadhav will meet someone from the Indian side since the Pakistani military announced he had been arrested in Balochistan on March 3, 2016. Pakistan has spurned more than 30 Indian requests for consular access.

“Pakistan has informed India that it is ready to allow the visit of the mother of Commander Jadhav, along with his wife. The visit should happen on December 25, 2017,” Faisal said in response to a question.

“A diplomat from the Indian high commission will be allowed to accompany the visitors. Requisite security would be provided to the visitors.”

External affairs ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar described the Pakistani move as a “positive development and good news”. He added, “We are happy to note that Pakistan has also agreed to our request for his mother to meet Jadhav that has been pending since April 2017.”

Soon after Pakistan’s Foreign Office formally informed India about its decision, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj spoke to Avantika Jadhav, the former naval officer’s mother. She instructed officials to facilitate their travel.

“Government of Pakistan has conveyed that they will give visa to the mother and wife of Kulbhushan Jadhav,” Swaraj tweeted.

“We also raised concern about their safety and security in Pakistan,” she said in another tweet.

Swaraj and the spokesperson stressed that the Pakistan government had given an assurance it will ensure the safety, security and well-being of Jahdav’s wife and mother during their stay in that country.

On November 10, Pakistan had offered to arrange a meeting between Jadhav and his wife. India responded by saying that Jadhav’s mother, an Indian official and a lawyer should also be allowed to attend the meeting.

Observers noted that the upcoming meeting may not strictly amount to consular access, which is a private meeting between an Indian national detained abroad and a diplomat. It was not yet clear whether Jadhav would be allowed to speak in private to the Indian diplomat at the meeting.

In a related development, the Pakistani media has reported that Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi is expected to chair a meeting to finalise Islamabad’s submission to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in Jadhav’s case. December 13 is the deadline for Pakistan to submit its “memorial” or formal submission in response to India’s submission.

Once Pakistan submits its memorial, the ICJ is expected to set the date for the final proceedings in February or March.

Abbasi is likely to be briefed on efforts by key stakeholders, including the attorney general’s office, the Foreign Office and the military, in finalising a “robust” response that refutes allegations made by India.

UK-based lawyer Khawar Qureshi, who pleaded Pakistan’s case in the initial stage, is expected to reach Islamabad to join the meeting.

After India approached the ICJ, The Hague-based court stayed Jadhav’s execution till it gives its final ruling in the matter. India has dismissed the charges leveled against Jadhav by Pakistan and said he was kidnapped from the Iranian port of Chabahar, where he was running a business.

In October, Pakistan formally informed the ICJ that former Supreme Court chief justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani will be its ad hoc judge for Jadhav’s case.

First Published: Dec 08, 2017 13:57 IST