Indian diplomats have been provided consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav, the Indian national sentenced to death by a Pakistan military court on charges of espionage, sources said.
The diplomats have been provided two-hour access, they added. This is the second consular access; the first time was in September 2019.
This comes after India had asked Pakistan to give unconditional access to Jadhav ahead of the July 20 deadline to file a review petition.
Earlier in the day, the Indian diplomats had reached the Pakistan Foreign Ministry to talk about the modalities of consular access.
As the deadline for filing a review plea against Jadhav’s death sentence neared, a senior Pakistani Opposition Senator has criticised the government for not tabling in Parliament an ordinance promulgated in May to allow a foreign national to file a petition for the reconsideration of a military court’s verdict.
The issue of the ordinance was raised in the Senate by Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader Raza Rabbani when a minister was about to present in the upper house the COVID-19 (prevention of hoarding) Ordinance after a delay of almost three months, Dawn newspaper reported on Thursday.
Pakistan enacted an ordinance called the International Court of Justice Review and Reconsideration Ordinance 2020 on May 20 under which a petition for the review of a military courts decision can be made to Islamabad High Court through an application within 60 days of its promulgation.
Last week, the Pakistan government said on Wednesday (July 8) that Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav has refused to file a review petition and wanted to go ahead with his pending mercy plea.
“He (Kulbhushan Jadhav) preferred to follow up on his pending mercy petition… Pakistan has offered second consular access to him,” news agency ANI quoted Additional Attorney General Ahmed Irfan as saying, while addressing a press conference in Islamabad with the Director-General for South Asia.
Kulbhushan Jadhav was invited on June 17 to file a petition for review of his sentence and conviction.
The Additional Attorney General said Jadhav had refused to file a petition for review and reconsideration of his sentence and conviction.
However, the Indian External Affairs Ministry said on July 8 that Pakistan’s claim that Kulbhushan Jadhav refused to initiate a review petition was nothing but a “continuation of the farce” that has been in play for the last four years, and added that he was coerced into refusing to file a review petition over his death sentence.
The External Affairs Ministry also charged that Jadhav was sentenced to execution through a “farcical trial”. “He was coerced to refuse to file a review in his case,” the statement said.
According to the claims by Islamabad, Kulbhushan Jadhav was allegedly “arrested” from Balochistan by Pakistani security forces on March 3, 2016, after he reportedly entered their country from Iran.
However, India dismissed 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 had been running a business.
Jadhav, the 50-year-old retired Indian Navy officer, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of “espionage and terrorism” in April 2017.
The Hague-based ICJ ruled in July last year that Pakistan must undertake an “effective review and reconsideration” of the conviction and sentence of Jadhav and also to grant consular access to India without further delay.