The meeting assumes importance in view of the fact that Pakistan has not heeded to India's request for consular services for the ex-Indian navy officer who has been sentenced to death on the plea that he was a spy.
Indian High Commissioner in Islamabad Gautam Bambawale met with the Pakistani foreign secretary, talked tough and made two big demands. One of the demands was that a copy of charge sheet be provided so that Kulbhushan could appeal in the highest court. The other was consular access for Jadhav. This was the 14th time that India has asked for consular access. The Pakistani side, however, refused to give consular access saying, “we cannot give consular access as it is a case of espionage”. Indian envoy also conveyed to Pakistan during his meeting with the Pakistani foreign secretary that Kulbhushan will appeal the order and that the MEA was studying Pak Army Act:
The meeting assumes importance in view of the fact that Pakistan has not heeded to India’s request for consular services for Ex The Indian navy officer who has been sentenced to death on the plea that he was a spy. Apart from diplomatic options, India will also explore legal remedies permitted under Pakistan legal system including Jadhav’s family appealing against the verdict.
According to MEA official spokesperson, “Kulbhushan Jadhav is a kidnapped innocent Indian, who is a retired officer of the Indian Navy. And these two facts were communicated to Pakistan one year ago when the matter of his illegal custody came to our knowledge. We had made 13 requests for the consular access, but it was denied by the Pakistan.”
“What is his condition, where is he being held, these facts cannot be ascertained. The Pakistan Government has also not shared with us his location or any specific details as to how and where is he being held and what is his condition,” he added.
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An MEA official said that no due process has been followed in the proceedings which is complete violation of basic norms of law, justice, and international relations,” he added.
He further said that Pakistan’s High Commissioner Abdul Basit was summoned as soon as the information of Jadhav’s death sentence came to India’s knowledge. “It was made clear to the Pakistan Government that given the circumstances of the case namely kidnapping of Jadhav, the absence of any credible evidence to substantiate the concocted charges against him and the farcical nature of proceedings against him. The Government of India will regard it as premeditated murder if the indefensible sentence awarded to him were carried out,” he added.
Reiterating External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s assertion, the official said lack of evidence and denial of consular access shows that charges leveled against Jadhav are baseless.
“The minister also informed the Parliament that Government of Pakistan had approached us this year to access the investigation and this further underlines the insufficiency of evidence, “the spokesperson added.