New Delhi: India on Thursday got second consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav, who had been arrested by Pakistan on alleged espionage charges and is languishing in jail. This is the second time in a year. Earlier in July, Pakistan had announced that it will give second consular access for Jadhav, inviting his father and wife to meet him. India has called for “unimpeded and unconditional” access, unlike what happened last time.
In September 2019, India got the first consular access for Jadhav in three years with Indian Deputy High Commissioner (DHC) Gaurav Ahluwalia meeting him in Islamabad for two hours. The Indian diplomat found Jadhav under “extreme pressure to parrot a false narrative to bolster Pakistan’s untenable claims”, according to a release issued by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).
Pakistan earlier in July had also said that Jadhav has refused review petition that was offered to him by the Pakistan government and instead he will go for mercy petition.
Pakistan’s Addl Attorney General Ahmed Irfan had said, “Kulbhushan Jadhav was invited to file a petition for review and reconsideration of his sentence and conviction. Exercising his legal right he refused to file a petition for review and reconsideration of his sentence and his conviction.”
On May 20, Pakistan had enacted an ordinance to implement the International Court of Justice’s order under which appeal can be made to Islamabad High Court within two months. Jadhav was given a chance to file a review petition on June 17. Pakistan even claimed that it has “repeatedly” written to Indian High Commission inviting them to file a review at Islamabad High Court and initiate the review and reconsideration process.
India has slammed Pakistan’s claim that Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav, who had been arrested on alleged espionage charges and languishing in its jail, refused to initiate review petition as “continuation of farce”. The MEA stated that Jadhav has been sentenced to execution through a farcical trial. He has clearly been coerced to refuse to file a review in his case, added the MEA.
The MEA had stated, “Pakistan’s claim that Jadhav, who is incarcerated in Pakistan’s custody, has refused to initiate review petition is a continuation of the farce that has been in play for the last four years. Jadhav has been sentenced to execution through a farcical trial. He remains under custody of Pakistan’s military. He has clearly been coerced to refuse to file a review in his case.”
India maintains that Jadhav was abducted by Pakistani agencies from Iran and New Delhi was first informed about his custody by Pakistani authorities on March 25, 2016. Jadhav, the 49-year-old retired Indian Navy officer, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of “espionage and terrorism” in April 2017.
India has categorically rejected Pakistan`s allegations about Jadhav`s involvement in spying and subversive activities and said he was kidnapped from the Iranian port of Chabahar where he was running a business. Jadhav was arrested on March 3, 2016, and sentenced to death on charges of espionage and terrorism in April 2017. In May 2017, India moved the ICJ against the “farcical trial” by Pakistan’s military court.