By Muhammad Luqman
Pakistan has said that it will grant consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav, who is on death row in the country on the charges of espionage and terrorism, on Monday in line with the International Court of Justice (ICJ) judgment.
The announcement came follows the Hague-based ICJ judgment in which the world apex court had rejected India’s request for acquittal, release and return of Commander Jadhav. However, the world court asked Pakistan to provide consular access to him under the Vienna Convention.
Following the verdict, the Foreign Office had announced that as a responsible state Pakistan would grant consular access to Jadhav according to the country’s laws, for which modalities were being worked out.
It had said that pursuant to the ICJ judgment, Jadhav had been informed of his rights under Article 36, Paragraph 1(b) of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.
“Consular access for Indian spy Commander Kulbhushan Jadhav, a serving Indian naval officer and RAW [Research and Analysis Wing] operative, is being provided on Monday 2 September 2019, in line with Vienna Convention on Consular relations, ICJ judgement & the laws of Pakistan,” said Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Muhammad Faisal in a tweet.
Consular access for Indian spy Commander Kulbhushan Jadhav, a serving Indian naval officer and RAW operative, is being provided on Monday 2 September 2019, in line with Vienna Convention on Consular relations, ICJ judgement & the laws of Pakistan.
— Dr Mohammad Faisal (@ForeignOfficePk) September 1, 2019
“Commander Jadhav remains in Pakistan’s custody, for espionage, terrorism and sabotage,” said the spokesperson in the follow-up tweet.
In its verdict that followed proceedings lasting about two years, the UN’s top court did not accept India’s contention that Jadhav was entitled to ‘restitutio in integrum’ (restoration to original position) and turned down its request to annul the decision of a military court.
Instead, it ruled that Pakistan by means of its own choosing could undergo an effective review and reconsideration of the sentence awarded to Jadhav.
Jadhav was arrested on March 3, 2016, in a counter-intelligence operation in Pakistan’s south-western province of Balochistan. A military court awarded him death sentence on April 10, 2017, following his confession that he had mounted operations for India’s Research and Analysis Wing to conduct terrorist activities on Pakistani soil.
Addressing his weekly media briefing last Thursday, the foreign office spokesperson said that Pakistan and India were in contact on the “issue of granting consular access” to the spy.
On the same day, India said it had asked for “immediate, effective and unhindered” consular access to Jadhav from Pakistan and was in touch with the neighbouring country through diplomatic channels.
On August 1, the Foreign Office said the retired Indian Navy officer on death row will be granted consular access the next day. However, the meeting, which was scheduled for 3pm on August 2, did not materialise amid differences between the two countries on the terms of the consular access to Jadhav.
Reacting to the offer, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs on Sunday demanded “unimpeded” and “unrestricted” consular access to Jadhav, saying anything short of this “will not be accepted by India”.