Evaluating Pakistan’s offer to grant consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav: MEA

RSTV Bureau
File photo of former Indian naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav who has been sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of 'espionage'.

File photo of former Indian naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav who has been sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of ‘espionage’.

India on Thursday said it was evaluating Pakistan’s offer of granting consular access to Indian death row convict Kulbhushan Jadhav on Friday.

External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said India is examining the proposal in the light of the judgement of the International Court of Justice relating to Jadhav’s case.

“We have received a proposal from Pakistan. We are at this point of time evaluating the proposal in light of the judgement of the International Court of Justice. We will maintain communication with Pakistan in this matter through diplomatic channels,” he said during a weekly media briefing.

Jadhav, 49, a retired Indian Navy officer, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of “espionage and terrorism” in April 2017 following which India had moved the ICJ.

The Hague-based ICJ last week ordered Pakistan to grant consular access to Jadhav without further delay and undertake an “effective review and reconsideration” of the conviction and sentence awarded to him.

Asked whether Pakistan has put some conditions for granting consular access to Jadhav, Kumar refused to give a direct answer.

“I do not think this is the appropriate forum for me to get into the kind of modalities which are being discussed between India and Pakistan,” he said.

There were reports that Pakistan has put a condition that a Pakistani official will have to be present when Jadhav is given consular access.

Sources said Pakistan set the proposal to India through Indian High Commission in Islamabad three days ago.

In Islamabad, Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman Mohammad Faisal said his government is awaiting India’s response to the proposal of granting consular access to Jadhav on Friday.

Following the ICJ’s order, India has asked Pakistan to grant full consular access to Jadhav at the earliest in “full compliance and conformity” of the world court’s verdict.

In its 42-page order, the court, while rejecting Pakistan’s objection to the admissibility of the Indian application in the case, held that “a continued stay of execution constitutes an indispensable condition for the effective review” of the sentence of Jadhav.

The bench, however, rejected some remedies sought by India, including annulment of the military court’s decision convicting Jadhav, his release and safe passage to India.

The ICJ upheld India’s stand that Pakistan is in egregious violation of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, 1963 on several counts in the case.

(PTI)