Kulbhushan Jadhav’s family reach Islamabad amid Pak-India disagreement over consular access

Agencies

Islamabad, December 25: Indian death row prisoner Kulbhushan Jadhav’s wife and mother arrived in Islamabad for a meeting with him at the Pakistan foreign affairs ministry, officials said.

TV footage showed a convoy of around seven vehicles escorting Jadhav’s family in the city.

A foreign office spokesperson said Jadhav’s family first went to the Indian High Commission. After spending some time there, the family will leave for ministry of foreign affairs (MOFA) to meet Jadhav. The foreign office said the meeting will last for about 30 minutes.

The two women arrived in the capital via Dubai in a commercial flight and are expected to leave soon after the meeting where they will be accompanied by Indian Deputy High Commissioner JP Singh.

In addition to the Indian envoy, a couple of foreign office officials will also be present during the meeting, according to sources at the Foreign Office.

Earlier, the Pakistan foreign minister’s comments about India being granted consular access to Jadhav were downplayed by India which said its diplomat was merely accompanying the family, and could not be construed as consular access.

Geo News reported Khawaja Muhammad Asif as saying that India had been granted the access, and added, that India “would not have given us this concession” if the roles were reversed.

When asked if it this concession constituted “consular access as an Indian official would be present in the meeting”, Asif categorically said, “Yes”.

The Pakistan foreign office earlier confirmed that JP Singh will be allowed to remain present at the meeting at the foreign affairs ministry.

Pakistan also announced it would issue photos and a video of the meeting and also allow the family to interact with media, if India agrees. However, Jadhav’s family is not expected to speak with the media.

Jadhav was 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 by it.

Pakistan claims its security forces arrested Jadhav alias Hussein Mubarak Patel from its restive Balochistan province on March 3 last year after he reportedly entered from Iran.

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

 

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