Pakistan offers consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav, India accepts
After Pakistan offered consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav, an Indian national who was captured by the neighboring country in 2016, New Delhi accepted the proposal, said reports. Indian Deputy High Commissioner in Islamabad Gaurav Ahluwalia will be meeting Jadhav today with a hope of "fair" conversation. This development comes weeks after the International Court of Justice (ICJ) directed Pakistan to provide consular access.
After being arrested years ago, Jadhav was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court in 2017 on charges of espionage and "facilitating" terrorism. Upset with how Pakistan treated its former navy officer, India approached ICJ. In what served as a big blow to Pakistan on the global stage, UN's judicial body underscored Pakistan violated the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, 1963.
On Sunday, the foreign ministry of Pakistan said India will receive consular access to Jadhav on Monday "in line with Vienna Convention on Consular relations, ICJ judgment & the laws of Pakistan". Dr. Mohammad Faisal, the spokesperson of the ministry, tweeted, "Commander Jadhav remains in Pakistan's custody, for espionage, terrorism, and sabotage (sic)." Earlier, India was reportedly "studying" the offer.
It should be noted that this is the second time that Pakistan has offered consular access. The early August offer was outrightly rejected by India as Islamabad didn't agree to provide a safe environment. Pakistan had said its officials will be present during the meeting and it will be filmed by CCTV as well. The riders put off India and it renounced the proposition.
Considering Pakistan's history, India wasn't willing to accept the offer without going through it thoroughly. Both sides reportedly discussed how many Indian officials will interview Jadhav with New Delhi being firm that the conversation shouldn't be recorded. "We don't want anyone to listen in on our conversation," sources told IE. In fact, India also explained to Pakistan what the Vienna Convention actually means.
"Consular officers shall be free to communicate with nationals of the sending state (India) and to have access to them. Nationals of the sending state shall have the same freedom with respect to communication with and access to consular officers of the sending state," India reportedly told Pakistan. But Pakistan is learned to have communicated to India that it will follow its "country's laws".
It's pertinent to note that Pakistan's offer comes at a time when its leaders have taken to war-mongering. The neighboring country has been frustrated after India revoked Article 370 and divided Jammu and Kashmir into two UTs. Despite India reiterating that Kashmir is an internal matter, Pakistan is lobbying hard to get other countries to "help" it. However, all efforts have been falling flat.