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Kulbhushan Jadhav under extreme pressure to parrot a false narrative to bolster Pakistan’s untenable claims: MEA after consular meet

Pakistan had on July 30, sent its first proposal to India but with 2 riders attached. India had rejected Pakistan’s offer then as the riders attached by Pakistan was in clear violation of the Vienna Convention.

An Indian diplomat met Kulbhushan Jadhav today at a sub-jail for an hour after Pakistan granted consular access to the former naval officer “in line with the ICJ judgement.”

In a statement, which was released hours after the first consular access, the Indian government has said that Kulbhushan Jadhav appears to be “under extreme pressure” to parrot a false narrative.

“While we await a comprehensive report, it was clear that Shri Jadhav appeared to be under extreme pressure to parrot a false narrative to bolster Pakistan’s untenable claims. We will decide a further course of action after receiving a detailed report from our Cd’A and determining the extent of conformity to the ICJ directives,” the MEA said in a statement.

It furthered that only after receiving a detailed report will India decide on the future course of action.

“The Charge d’ Affaires, High Commission of India in Islamabad, met Shri Kulbhushan Jadhav today. This meeting was held in the light of the unanimous judgment of the International Court of Justice delivered on 17 July 2019 which found Pakistan in egregious violation of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, 1963 on many counts and ordered Pakistan to provide Indian consular officers access to Shri Jadhav,” MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said.

He added, “Today’s consular access is a part of the binding obligations of Pakistan, as ordered by the ICJ, to ensure effective review and reconsideration of the conviction and sentence awarded to Shri Jadhav through a farcical process.”

The MEA spokesperson also said that the External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar has spoken with Jadhav’s mother and has briefed her of today’s development.

He added the government remains committed to continue to work towards ensuring that Kulbhushan Jadhav receives justice at the earliest and returns safely to India.

India had accepted Pakistan’s offer for consular access to detained former navy officer Jadhav on Monday and had hoped that Pakistan officials would ensure the “right atmosphere” for the meeting, keeping with the letter and spirit of the ICJ order.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) headquartered in The Hague, Netherlands had directed Pakistan to stay Jadhav’s execution and allow him consular access. Based on ICJ’s verdict in a 15-1 decision on July 17, Pakistan had on July 30 sent its first proposal to India but with 2 riders attached. One that Pakistani security personnel will be present during the meeting and second there will be CCTV cameras present in the room.

India had rejected Pakistan’s first offer with riders and had demanded unimpeded access. According to article 36 of the Vienna Convention, “Consular officer shall be free to communicate with nationals of the sending state and to have access to them.” The first rider by Pakistan was in clear violation of the Vienna Convention.

Jadhav is an Indian national and a retired navy officer, who was arbitrarily arrested by Pakistan in 2016 for being an ‘Indian spy’. The Indian government had approached the ICJ over the arbitrary death sentence handed down to Jadhav after an ad hoc hearing in Pakistan.

A Pakistani military court had sentenced him to death in April 2017 on charges of espionage and terrorism. However, the ICJ in The Hague had asked Pakistan to hold off the execution till it reached the final verdict in the case.

The ICJ had conducted a public hearing of the case in February this year. India has sought annulment of Jadhav’s death sentence and his immediate release stating that Pakistani army court verdict had failed to satisfy even the minimum standards of due process. Senior advocate Harish Salve had presented India’s case at the ICJ.

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