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India gets 2nd consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav

India on Thursday got second consular to former naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav – sentenced to death by a Pakistan Army court – at the Pakistan foreign office in Islamabad. Pakistan provided consular access to Jadhav in September last year.

The development follows India’s request for unconditional access to Jadhav ahead of the July 20 deadline to file a review petition in his case.

Last week, Pakistan claimed that Jadhav, arrested on charges of espionage and terrorism in 2016, had refused to file an appeal to review his case in the Islamabad High Court. New Delhi denied the claim, and said he had clearly “been coerced” into not appealing against his conviction.

In its July 2019 verdict, the International Court of Justice ordered Pakistan to review Jadhav’s death sentence. It also ruled that India’s right to have consular access to its national had been violated.

India has also accused Pakistan of violating the ICJ judgment in “letter and spirit”.

New Delhi said Pakistan passed an Ordinance in May this year to allow for the High Court to review the sentence awarded by their military court.

“They have all along maintained that their laws allowed for effective review and reconsideration while we have protested it all along. Now, after almost a year, they have made a U-turn and issued an Ordinance to ostensibly provide for some sort of review. We have already expressed our serious concerns at the content of the Ordinance and how it violates the ICJ judgment. Pakistan is only seeking to create an illusion of remedy,” it said.

Jadhav was arrested by Pakistani security agencies in Balochistan in March 2016 and charged with involvement in spying. In April 2017, Pakistan announced he had been given the death sentence by a military court.

India has rejected the allegations against Jadhav and said he was kidnapped by Pakistani operatives from the Iranian port of Chabahar, where he was running a business. Pakistan has so far granted consular access to Jadhav only once since his arrest in 2016.

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