India on Saturday made the 18th request for consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav, the Indian national, captured and awarded death sentence by Pakistani military court on the charges of spying. The two countries also exchanged lists of nationals of each country lodged in the jails. India also requested Pakistan to grant consular access to other Indians lodged in their custody including Hamid Nehal Ansari. “Again requested Pakistan to grant consular access to Indians lodged in their custody including Hamid Nehal Ansari & Kulbhushan Jadhav,” MEA said. “India once again requests Pakistan for the early release and repatriation of Indian prisoners, missing Indian defence personnel and fishermen along with their boats whose nationality has been confirmed by India,” it stated.
Jadhav, an Indian national, was allegedly arrested from Pakistan’s occupied Balochistan province on March 3, 2016. Islamabad has claimed that the former Indian Navy officer was involved in an act of spying and terror activities in Balochistan on behest of New Delhi. The India national was convicted in April by a Pakistani military court and sentenced to death.
India, however, rejected the charges and said that Pakistani agencies had abducted Jadhav from Iran, where he was pursuing his business. While on the other hand, Ansari, an engineer and business professional, who had gone to Kabul in Afghanistan on November 4, 2012, on a tourist visa for a job in aviation, IANS reported. As per a list handed over to the Indian envoy by Pakistan government, as many as, 546 Indian nationals, including nearly 500 fishermen, are languishing in Pakistani jails.
The list has been handed over to High Commissioner Gautam Bambawale under the Consular Access Agreement signed between the two countries on May 21, 2008. The foreign office said the Indian prisoners included “52 civilians and 494 fishermen”. It said the “step is consistent with the provisions of the Consular Access Agreement”, a treaty which mandates both countries to exchange lists of prisoners in each other’s custody twice a year – on January 1 and July 1.