Pak grants India consular access to Jadhav: Khawaja Asif

PTI
Monday, 25 December 2017

Asif, last night, told Geo News that Indian Deputy High Commissioner J P Singh accompanying Jadhav's wife and mother, who arrived here today, could be considered "consular access".

ISLAMABAD/NEW DELHI: Pakistan has granted India consular access to Indian death row prisoner Kulbhushan Jadhav by allowing the presence of an Indian diplomat during the meeting with his family, Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif told a Pakistani media channel.

Asif, last night, told Geo News that Indian Deputy High Commissioner J P Singh accompanying Jadhav's wife and mother, who arrived here today, could be considered "consular access".

Asked specifically if it constituted consular access as an Indian official would be present in the meeting, Asif said, "Yes".

However, Foreign Office spokesperson Mohammad Faisal today said that India was not given consular access to Jadhav. Faisal told media that "presence of an official of Indian High Commission in the meeting was not consular access" as he would only see the meeting taking place.

In India, officials downplayed the comments by the Pakistani minister, maintaining that the Indian diplomat was only accompanying Jadhav's family and it cannot be construed as "consular access".

Faisal has earlier also said that the decision to allow Jadhav to meet his family was taken on "humanitarian grounds".

They would be immediately travelling back to India via Oman. They will travel to Muscat on Oman Air and then will board Air India flight to New Delhi.

Pakistan has announced it will issue photos and video of the meeting.

Officials also said Jadhav's family would not interact with the media.

Stringent security measures have been taken and additional police and paramilitary troops deployed around the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Islamabad.

Jadhav, 47, 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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