Pakistan offers India 3rd consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav, says its official won’t be present in meeting

A day after the meeting of Indian officials with Kulbhushan Jadhav, Pakistan on Friday said it has decided to again give India consular access to the former naval officer sentenced to death in Pakistan for alleged involvement in espionage. This will be the third consular access to Jadhav.

Confirming the development, Pakistan’s foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that they have agreed to India’s demand to not have a security personnel during the meeting.

However, Qureshi said that the Indian officials who came to meet Jadhav on Thursday left without hearing him out. “[Jhadav] kept asking the Indian diplomats to talk to him and they left,” claimed Qureshi.

Calling the behaviour of the officials “astonishing”, Qureshi said that if the Indian diplomats didn’t want to talk to Jadhav, why did they ask for consular access.

“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.

New Delhi had accused Islamabad of breaching its assurance of providing unimpeded access to Jadhav during the consular access.

On Thursday, Pakistan provided consular access to Jadhav for the second time since he was detained in March 2016. But when two Indian consular officials went to meet him, they found Pakistani officials with “an intimidating demeanour” near Jadhav and a camera being used to record the conversation, the ministry of external affairs (MEA) said.

The Indian officials met Jadhav to discuss filing a review petition in Islamabad high court against his death sentence by the deadline of July 20, and required privacy to talk about the matter.

“The consular officers could not engage Jadhav on his legal rights and were prevented from obtaining his written consent for arranging his legal representation,” MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said.

“In the light of these circumstances, the Indian consular officers came to the conclusion that the consular access being offered by Pakistan was neither meaningful nor credible. After lodging a protest, they left the venue.”

Meanwhile, the spokesperson of Pakistan’s foreign office Aisha Farooqui reiterated the country’s offer to file an appeal in the Islamabad High Court against Jadhav’s conviction and subsequent death sentence by a military court.

The statement added that Pakistan remained committed to fully implementing the International Court of Justice’s (ICJ) judgement of July 17, 2019. “It is hoped that India will cooperate with the Pakistan court in giving full effect to the said judgement.”

Consular access to Jadhav was first provided in September 2019, while his mother and wife had been allowed to meet him in December 2017.

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