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Pakistan denies second consular access to India in Kulbhushan Jadhav case

Pakistan had on September 2 granted the first consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav in line with the "Vienna Convention and the International Court of Justice (ICJ) verdict" first time ever since his arrest in 2016.

Pakistan Foreign Affairs Ministry’s spokesperson, Mohammad Faisal, said in a statement Thursday that Pakistan will not allow India second consular access to the former naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav, who has been sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court.

Pakistan had on September 2 granted the first consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav in line with the “Vienna Convention and the International Court of Justice (ICJ) verdict” first time ever since his arrest in 2016. An Indian diplomat, Gaurav Ahluwalia had met Kulbhushan Jadhav at a sub-jail for an hour.

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

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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