16 Jul 2020
Pakistan: India gets second consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav
Written byRamya Patelkhana
India on Thursday received the second consular access from Pakistan to meet Kulbhushan Jadhav, a former Indian Navy officer who was arrested and sentenced to death by a Pakistan Army court.
This comes after India sought unrestricted consular access to Jadhav before July 20 - the deadline to file a review petition. Notably, the first consular access was granted in September 2019.
Two Indian High Commission officials to meet Jadhav
According to reports, two officials from the Indian High Commission in Islamabad will be allowed to meet Jadhav for two hours on Thursday.
Also, the High Commission officials have been allotted the time of 4:00 pm (4:30 pm IST) for consular access to him. Jadhav is lodged at a place that has been declared a sub-jail at present, reported India Today citing sources.
Jadhav granted second consular access
Indian citizen Kulbhushan Jadhav granted second consular access today. Indian officials at Pakistan foreign office: Pakistan Media (File pic) pic.twitter.com/3olA2GAFOY— ANI (@ANI) July 16, 2020
Pakistan shouldn't force English as medium of language: India
Indian diplomats reportedly visited Pakistan's Foreign Ministry earlier today to discuss the modalities of the consular access granted to Jadhav.
Apart from seeking unrestricted consular access, India demanded that Pakistan shouldn't force English as the medium of language for interacting with him.
In the past, Pakistan insisted that only English be used during the interaction, and the meeting be held in Pakistani officials' presence.
Jadhav was arrested by Pakistan in March 2016
Pakistan arrested retired Indian Navy officer Jadhav in March 2016, accusing him of terrorism and espionage.
However, India denounced these charges, asserting he was kidnapped from Iran where he was involved in business activities.
In April 2017, a Pakistan Army court sentenced him to death following which India dragged Pakistan to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), and his execution was later stayed.
The world court put Jadhav's sentence on hold in 2019
In July 2019, the Hague-based ICJ put Jadhav's death sentence on hold, asking Pakistan to conduct an "effective review and reconsideration" of his conviction and sentence.
It also told Pakistan to grant consular access to him, agreeing with India that Islamabad violated the Vienna Convention by denying him consular access after his conviction.
Following this ruling, Pakistan granted the first consular access in September.
Deadline for Jadhav to file review plea is July 20
Notably, the deadline for Jadhav to file a review petition for his sentence in line with the ICJ verdict is July 20.
However, last week, Islamabad claimed Jadhav was invited to file the plea on June 17, but he refused it and instead wanted to appeal for mercy.
Pakistan's Attorney General Ahmed Irfan said Jadhav "preferred to follow up on his pending mercy petition."
India rejects Pakistan's claims that Jadhav refused review plea
India, however, rejected Pakistan's claims that Jadhav refused to file a review petition, saying he was coerced by Islamabad to not appeal against his conviction and sentence.
"Kulbhushan Jadhav has been sentenced to execution through a farcical trial. He remains under custody of Pakistan's military. He has clearly been coerced to refuse to file a review in his case," India's External Affairs Ministry said.
Jadhav coerced to forego rights to seek ICJ verdict implementation
"In a brazen attempt to scuttle even the inadequate remedy under the Ordinance, Pakistan...obviously coerced Shri Jadhav to forego his rights to seek implementation of the judgment of the ICJ," the External Affairs Ministry said last week.
In May 2020, Pakistan issued an Ordinance, allowing a High Court to review the sentence awarded to Jadhav by a military court, to "comply" with ICJ's verdict.