Ready to grant third consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav: Pak Foreign Min

Shah Mahmood Qureshi said they have also agreed to India’s demand to not have a security personnel during the meeting

Kulbhushan Jadhav
Kulbhushan Jadhav was sentenced to death by a Pakistan military court in 2017. File photo: PTI

A day after India termed the second consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav as “neither meaningful nor credible,” Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said on Friday (July 17) that Islamabad is willing to provide a third meeting with the Indian death row prisoner, according to the Pakistani media.

Confirming the development, Qureshi said they have also agreed to India’s demand to not have a security personnel during the meeting.

However, Qureshi said the Indian officials who came to meet Jadhav on Thursday left without hearing him out. “[Jadhav] kept asking the Indian diplomats to talk to him and they left,” Hindustan Times quoted Qureshi as saying.

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Calling the behaviour of the officials “astonishing”, Qureshi why the Indian diplomats consular access if they did not want to talk to Jadhav.

“They had objected to the glass that had been placed in the middle so we removed it. They had also objected to audio and video recordings so that was also not done. We fulfilled all their requests, but still they left,” said the Pakistan foreign minister.

Pakistan on Thursday provided a second consular access to Jadhav, a 50-year-old retired Indian Navy officer, who was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of espionage and terrorism in April 2017.

The Indian government said the second access was “neither meaningful nor credible,” and Jadhav appeared visibly under stress.

“The Consular Officers were not given unimpeded, unhindered and unconditional access” to Jadhav, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said in New Delhi on Thursday.

Foreign Minister Qureshi, however, said the Indian consular officers were provided access to Jadhav as desired by New Delhi.

Qureshi said Pakistan was willing to provide yet another consular access to India, The Express Tribune reported.

They had objected over the presence of security officials during the meeting, we are willing even to remove those officials. If India wants another access then our offer is open. If they (India) want to meet him tonight or tomorrow, we are ready, the paper quoted Qureshi as telling a news channel.

However, there was no official confirmation neither from India nor from Pakistan whether the decision was conveyed to New Delhi.

India approached the International Court of Justice against Pakistan for denial of consular access to Jadhav and challenging the death sentence.

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.

The first consular access under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, 1963 was earlier provided by Pakistan on September 2 last year.

Though Pakistan Foreign ministry had assured India that the consular access on Thursday would be unimpeded, unhindered and unconditional, it turned out that the arrangements of the meeting were not in accordance with the assurances made by Islamabad, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Srivastava said.

Pakistan claims that its security forces arrested Jadhav from the restive Balochistan province on March 3, 2016 after he reportedly entered from Iran.

India maintains that Jadhav was kidnapped from Iran where he had business interests after retiring from the Navy.

(With inputs from agencies)

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