Pakistan on Wednesday said it had offered India a second consular access to alleged Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav, who is on death row, in line with a 2019 International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling. However, the country said that Jadhav had refused the conviction review which he had been offered.
Flanked by the director-general of Foreign Office’s South Asia and SAARC chapter, Zahid Hafeez Chaudhry, the AAG said that Pakistan also offered to assist in arranging legal representation for India’s Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) agent Commander Jadhav.
Pakistan says Jadhav refused conviction review despite it being offered
“Pakistan is committed to implementing the ICJ judgment in letter and spirit. We have already arranged a meeting between Kulbhushan Jadhav and his wife and mother. Pakistan has also offered [Indian High Commission in Islamabad] a second consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav,” Additional Attorney General Ahmed Irfan told a press conference in the capital Islamabad. He was accompanied by an official of the Foreign Ministry.
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Irfan said Pakistan‘s Constitution allows Jadhav to appeal the military court’s judgment but, he added, the alleged Indian spy refused.
The ICJ in July 2019 ruled that Jadhav be treated under the Vienna Convention, asking Pakistan to provide him consular access and continue to stay his execution.
“In line with the ICJ ruling, Pakistan amended the law, and invited Kulbhushan Jadhav on June 17 to file a review petition in [the] Islamabad High Court for the review and reconsideration of his sentence and conviction. He instead preferred to follow up on his pending mercy petition,” he said.
Pakistan involves India over conviction review
Pakistan, the attorney general said, had also repeatedly written to the Indian High Commission inviting it to file a review petition.
Irfan further said that New Delhi has requested an Indian counsel to argue Commander Jadhav’s case, but that is not legally possible. Only lawyers licensed by the High Court can present arguments in the case, he said.
Pakistan has offered India second consular access to Indian spy Kulbushan Jadhav. Pakistan also offered to arrange Jadhav's meeting with his father and wife, said DG (South Asia & SAARC) Zahid Hafeez. Officials recalled that Pakistan earlier allowed his mother & wife to meet him
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“Pakistan is fully cognizant of its international obligations. It is hoped, without playing politics with the issue, India will follow the due course and cooperate with courts in Pakistan,” he said.
According to Pakistan‘s military, Jadhav confessed before the court to having been tasked to “plan, coordinate and organize espionage/sabotage activities aiming to destabilize and wage war against Pakistan by impeding the efforts of law enforcement agencies for restoring peace in Balochistan and Karachi.”
New Delhi denies Islamabad’s charges, declaring Jadhav a retired naval officer who was “kidnapped” in Iran, where he was doing business. New Delhi insists he was taken captive in Iran before being moved to Pakistan and then forced to confess. India then approached the UN court to intervene saying his trial had been unfair and Pakistan had denied him diplomatic assistance. His presence in Pakistan was never explained credibly.
It had moved to the ICJ, which stayed the execution in May 2017 pending a final decision in the proceedings.
Who was Kulbushan Jadhav?
Jadhav — who Pakistan says was a serving officer in the Indian Navy — was arrested in 2016 in the town of Mashkel in the Balochistan province, a few miles from the border with Iran.
Allegedly disguised as Mubarak Hussein Patel, a Muslim, he was accused of running a spy network for the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), India’s premier intelligence agency, from the Iranian port of Chabahar.
Video confessions of his spying were also released, which India claimed to have been recorded under duress.
A Pakistan military court sentenced him to death in April 2017 on espionage and terrorism charges. No date, however, was set for his execution, which would be by hanging.
Pakistan maintained that a treaty between the neighbours did not oblige it to allow diplomatic assistance for those suspected of being spies or terrorists. The ICJ decision was a favourable outcome for Pakistan as the court did not order the acquittal and release of Jadhav.
Anadolu with additional input by GVS News Desk