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India’s visa request for Jadhav’s mother under consideration, says Pakistan

Jadhav’s mother had submitted a visa application at the Pakistan high commission in New Delhi soon after her son was sentenced to death in April.

world Updated: Jul 13, 2017 20:14 IST
HT Correspondents
HT Correspondents
Hindustan Times, Islamabad/New Delhi
Kulbhushan Jadhav,India-Pakistan relations,Kulbhushan Jadhav death sentence
People in Ahmedabad hold posters of Kulbhushan Jadhav as they celebrate the International Court of Justice on order May 18, 2017.(Siddharaj Solanki / HT Photo)

Islamabad said on Thursday it is reviewing New Delhi’s request for granting a visa to the mother of Kulbushan Yadav, the former Indian Navy officer sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court for alleged involvement in espionage.

Foreign Office spokesperson Nafees Zakaria told a weekly news briefing, “The pending visa application of Jadhav’s mother is currently under review.” He did not say when a decision is likely in the matter.

Jadhav’s mother, Avantika Jadhav, had submitted a visa application at the Pakistan high commission in New Delhi soon after her son was sentenced to death in April. She also sent a mercy petition and an appeal for her son to be freed to the Pakistan government through the Indian mission in Islamabad.

External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj has written a “personal letter” to Sartaj Aziz, Pakistan’s foreign policy chief, about her visa application. On Monday, Swaraj used strong words to hit out at Aziz for not having “the courtesy even to acknowledge” her letter.

During a news briefing in New Delhi, external affairs ministry spokesperson Gopal Baglay said there was “no progress” on India’s request for consular access to Jadhav.

Friends of Kulbhushan Jadhav react after he was given a stay of execution in the neighbourhood where he grew up in Mumbai on May 18, 2017. (AFP)

The Indian government has not heard from Pakistan through diplomatic channels on the request for a visa for Jadhav’s mother, he added.

Baglay was responding to a question about the Pakistan Foreign Office’s comment that the visa request was being considered. Pakistan has repeatedly turned down India’s requests for consular access to Jadhav.

At the briefing in Islamabad, Zakaria expressed regret at what he described as India’s “strict restrictions” on granting visas to Pakistanis who wanted to travel to India for medical treatment.

Under new Indian rules, medical visas will be issued only if the applications are endorsed by Sartaj Aziz, the prime minister’s advisor on foreign affairs.

Pakistan says Jadhav, 47, is an Indian intelligence operative who was arrested in Balochistan province in March last year. Following a secret trial by a military court, he was sentenced to death in April.

School children in Moradabad sending wishes to Kulbhushan Jadhav at the time when his case was being heard at the International Court of Justice in The Hague. (PTI)

India has dismissed the allegations of espionage and involvement in subversive activities levelled against Jadhav. New Delhi says the former naval officer was kidnapped from the Iranian port city of Chabahar, where he was running a business.

In May, the International Court of Justice stayed Jadhav’s execution till it decides on India’s application that his death sentence should be annulled.

First Published: Jul 13, 2017 16:58 IST