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Asked for diplomatic access to Kulbhushan Jadhav 2 days ago: Sushma Swaraj

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Jadhav was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on spying charges in April 2017. India moved the ICJ in May the same year against the verdict.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Tuesday said India had two days ago sought diplomatic access to former Navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav who is currently in a Pakistani jail after being convicted there for spying. The minister added that Jadhav’s case is listed for hearing in February in the International Court of Justice.

Jadhav was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on spying charges in April 2017. India moved the ICJ in May the same year against the verdict. The world court halted Jadhav’s execution, on India’s appeal, pending the final verdict by it.

“We have secured a stay on Jadhav’s execution from the International Court of Justice (ICJ). This matter is listed for hearing in February,” Swaraj told reporters here.

While Pakistan has claimed its security forces arrested Jadhav from its Balochistan province in March 2016 after he reportedly entered the country from Iran, India has said Jadhav was kidnapped from Iran where he had business interests after retiring from the Navy.

Speaking on the deportation of Christian Michel, an alleged middleman in the AgustaWestland chopper deal, Swaraj called it a “big success” on the part of the Centre.

In a swipe at the opposition Congress, Swaraj asked, “But why has this (deportation) caused discomfort to the Congress?”

On the Rafale fighter aircraft purchase, which is at the centre of an acrimonious tussle between the ruling BJP and the Congress, Swaraj said it was not an “issue” and claimed it could not become a poll issue in MP despite the Congress’s best efforts.

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