MEA: Pak violated spirit of understandings when Jadhav’s family met him

RSTV Bureau
Indian prisoner in Islamabad, Kulbhushan Jadhav, is seen meeting his mother and wife on December 25, 2017.

Indian prisoner in Islamabad, Kulbhushan Jadhav, is seen meeting his mother and wife on December 25, 2017.

A day after Kubhushan Jadhav’s family met him at Pakistan’s Foreign Office, India’s Ministry of External Affairs has said that Pakistan violated the spirit of understandings between the two countries.

On Monday, Jadhav, who is an Indian prisoner in Pakistan, met his mother and wife who flew in from India to meet him for 40 minutes.

India regrets the way Pakistan conducted the meeting, said the MEA. The statement from India’s External Affairs Ministry came after Jadhav’s wife and mother met External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Tuesday morning.

India also raised questions over the health and well being of the Indian national.

“From the feedback we have received of the meeting, it appears that Jadhav was under considerable stress and speaking in an atmosphere of coercion…His appearance also raises questions over his health and well being,” the ministry of external affairs (MEA) said, a day after Jadhav’s mother and wife met him at the heavily guarded building of the Pakistani foreign office in Islamabad.

There was a glass screen between Jadhav and his family during the entire meeting and they spoke through an intercom device.

The MEA said most of Jadhav’s remarks were “clearly tutored” and designed to perpetuate the false narrative of his alleged activities in Pakistan.

Prior to the meeting, the two governments were in touch through diplomatic channels to work out its modalities and format, the MEA said.

There were “clear understandings” between the two sides and the Indian side scrupulously abided by all its commitments, said MEA.

“However, we note with regret that the Pakistani side conducted the meeting in a manner which violated the letter and spirit of our understandings,” the MEA statement said.

The ministry also alleged that under the pretext of security precautions, the cultural and religious sensibilities of family members were disregarded. “This included removal of mangal sutra, bangles and bindi, as well as a change in attire that was not warranted by security,” it said.

The mother of Jadhav was prevented from talking in their mother tongue, although this was clearly the natural medium of communication and she was repeatedly interrupted while doing so, and eventually prevented from proceeding further in this regard, the ministry said.

“The manner in which the meeting was conducted and its aftermath was clearly an attempt to bolster a false and unsubstantiated narrative of Jadhav’s alleged activities… this exercise lacked any credibility,” it said.

Pakistan has repeatedly denied India consular access to Jadhav on the ground that it was not applicable in cases related to spies. The country alleges that Jadhav is an Indian spy, who was arrested by Pakistani security forces from its restive Balochistan province on March 3 2016, after he reportedly entered from Iran.

But India maintains that Jadhav was kidnapped from Iran where he had business interests after retiring from the Indian Navy.

Jadhav, 47, was then sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of espionage and terrorism in April, following which India moved the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in May. The ICJ halted his execution on India’s appeal pending the final verdict.

(With inputs from PTI)