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India demands consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav

LiveMint logoLiveMint 26-04-2017 Sajjad Hussain

Islamabad: India on Wednesday demanded consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav, who has been sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court for alleged spying.

This was conveyed by Indian high commissioner in Islamabad, Gautam Bambawale, to Pakistan foreign secretary Tehmina Janjua during a meeting sought by him. On 19 April, a meeting between Bambawale and Janjua was rescheduled. Pakistan has denied India’s request for consular access to 46-year-old Jadhav over a dozen times in the last one year. Pakistan’s army has already rejected any chance of granting consular access to Jadhav, who was sentenced to death over charges of espionage and subversive activities.

On 14April, Bambawale had met the Pakistani foreign secretary, showing India’s increasing concern about the fate of Jadhav. He told media after his meeting that he had asked for list of charges and authentic copy of verdict of military tribunal against Jadhav to launch appeal against his conviction. He also said that India was seeking consular access on the basis on international law and humanitarian grounds.

Pakistan’s foreign office has said that during the period of trial of Jadhav, due judicial process was followed and he was provided a lawyer in accordance with relevant laws and the constitution of Pakistan. Jadhav was awarded the death sentence by the field general court martial earlier this month, evoking a sharp reaction in India, which warned Pakistan of consequences and damage to bilateral ties if the “pre-meditated murder” was carried out. Pakistan claims its security forces had arrested Jadhav from the restive Balochistan province on 3 March last year after he reportedly entered from Iran. It also claimed that he was “a serving officer in the Indian Navy”. The Pakistani army had also released a “confessional video” of Jadhav after his arrest.

However, India denied Pakistan’s contention and maintained that Jadhav was kidnapped by the Pakistani authorities. India had acknowledged that Jadhav had served with the navy but denied that he has any connection with the government. PTI

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