A day after India called out Pakistan’s sham over second consular access to former Indian Navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav, Pakistan has offered third consular access to India. Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi confirmed the decision to local TV networks.
Reports quoting Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said a note verbale has been sent meeting India’s demand to not have security personnel during the meeting. This comes a day after India has said that its national Kulbhushan Jadhav was “visibly under stress” as Pakistan did not permit a free conversation between him and the consular officers and they were not given “unimpeded, unhindered and unconditional” access.
Ministry of External Affairs had said in a statement that the conversation between Jadhav and consular officers was being recorded as evident from a camera and the consular access offered by Pakistan was neither “meaningful nor credible”.
MEA spokesperson also said that Pakistani officials with intimidating demeanour were present in close proximity of Kulbhushan Jadhav and consular officers despite protests raised by the Indian side.He said Jadhav himself was visibly under stress and indicated that clearly to the consular officers.
MEA had reiterated that the government was committed to ensuring the safe return of Jadhav to India and “will decide on a future course of action in the light of the events today”.
“The consular officers were not given unimpeded, unhindered and unconditional access to Jadhav. On the contrary, Pakistani officials with an intimidating demeanour were present in close proximity of Jadhav and consular officers despite the protests of the Indian side. It was also evident from a camera that was visible that the conversation with Jadhav was being recorded,” the statement said.
“Jadhav himself was visibly under stress and indicated that clearly to the consular officers. The arrangements did not permit a free conversation between them. The consular officers could not engage Jadhav on his legal rights and were prevented from obtaining his written consent for arranging his legal representation,” it added.
India recently requested the Pakistani side for an unimpeded, unhindered and unconditional consular access to be provided on July 13. Pakistan was asked to ensure that the meeting is held in an atmosphere free from fear of retribution and without the presence of any Pakistani official in the vicinity of Jadhav and the Indian consular officials. Pakistan was also requested to not record (video and audio) the meeting.
The statement said that despite Pakistan’s assurance of ensuring unhindered consular access to Jadhav, the environment and the arrangements of the meeting were not in accordance with the assurances of Islamabad. The MEA spokesperson said that any conversation between Jadhav and High Commission officials must necessarily take place in privacy and without the presence of any Pakistani official or recording by Pakistan.
Pakistan claims that Jadhav was arrested from Balochistan in 2016 on charges of espionage. India has rejected Pakistan’s allegations and said he was kidnapped from the Iranian port of Chabahar.
In early 2017, a Pakistani military court sentenced him to death. In May 2017, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) stayed his execution. In July last year, the ICJ, by a vote of 15-1, had upheld India’s claim that Pakistan has committed an egregious violation of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations on several counts.
(With ANI inputs)
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