After a gap of a month, Pakistan had on Sunday for the second time offered India consular access to Jadhav on Monday.
New Delhi: India is understood to have been presented with a “take it or leave it” option by Pakistan on consular access to imprisoned former Indian naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav, after which New Delhi decided to avail of the opportunity on Monday apparently to “check the well-being” of the retired officer despite its fears that the consular access would “not be unimpeded”. This was because Pakistan continued to insist on its two conditions for the meeting — which were the presence of Pakistani officials at the meeting and the entire meeting being recorded. Predictably, Mr Jadhav “parroted the false narrative and untenable claims” of Pakistan as he was “under extreme pressure”. Pakistan’s claims, consistently rejected by India as false and baseless, are that Mr Jadhav was spying for India when he was captured and that he is still a serving naval officer, and it seems obvious that Mr Jadhav “parroted” this.
India’s charge d’affaires Gaurav Ahluwalia was allowed by Pakistan to gain consular access to Mr Jadhav on Monday afternoon in a meeting that lasted two hours. India is expected to take the position now that the consular access that was provided by Pakistan was “not unimpeded”, that it was “not free from the fear of intimidation and reprisal” and it was contrary to the provisions of the Vienna Convention on Consular Access and also contrary to the orders of the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
It may be recalled that Mr Jadhav was handed the death penalty in Pakistan in April 2017 by a military court on charges of espionage and sabotage. New Delhi had dismissed the Pakistani charges that Mr Jadhav was a spy and saboteur. India then petitioned the ICJ, which in its verdict on July 17 this year had criticised Pakistan for not granting India consular access to Mr Jadhav in violation of the Vienna Convention.
Islamabad had claimed Mr Jadhav was “apprehended by Pakistan law enforcement agencies on March 3, 2016 after he illegally crossed over into Pakistan” and that he had been engaging in “espionage, terrorist and sabotage activities aimed at destabilising and waging war against Pakistan”. But rubbishing these claims, India had argued Mr Jadhav was “kidnapped from Iran, where he was carrying on business after retiring from the Indian Navy, and was then shown to have been arrested in Balochistan” on March 3, 2016 ...”.
After a gap of a month, Pakistan had on Sunday for the second time offered India consular access to Mr Jadhav on Monday. It may be recalled that about a month ago, Pakistan had similarly offered India access but New Delhi had rejected that offer due to the conditions imposed by Pakistan. But New Delhi nevertheless decided to go ahead this time. This was the first time that India gained consular access to Mr Jadhav. It may be recalled Mr Jadhav had met his wife and mother in Islamabad with a glass partition separating them on December 25, 2017, after which India had lambasted Pakistan for “conducting that meeting in a manner which violated the letter and spirit of our understandings”.
The external affairs ministry had on Monday said: “It was clear Mr Jadhav appeared to be under extreme pressure to parrot a false narrative to bolster Pakistan’s untenable claims. We will decide a further course of action after receiving a detailed report from our charge d’affaires and determining the extent of conformity to the ICJ directives.”