Kulbhushan Jadhav Gets Consular Access From Pakistan

After the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague urged Pakistan to grant consular access to death row prisoner Kulbhushan Jadhav, Islamabad on Friday declared that he will be granted the right to get in touch with diplomats and officials from India.

“Pursuant to the decision of the ICJ, Commander Kulbhushan Jadhav has been informed of his rights under Article 36, Paragraph 1 (b) of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. As a responsible state, Pakistan will grant consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav according to Pakistani laws, for which modalities are being worked out,” stated a press release from the office of the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA).

India emphatically said on Thursday that Pakistan should obey the ICJ verdict. Pakistan can immediately grant consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav acting upon the multiple pending requests on the matter from India, a diplomatic source had said.

The ICJ had pointed out in the verdict that Pakistan violated the Vienna Convention by not granting consular access to the former Indian navy official who was given a death sentence by a Pakistani military court in 2017.

“Pakistan already has several formal requests from us regarding consular access to Jadhav. We hope they act on these requests now without delay,” the diplomatic source had said, indicating that there is no need for a fresh request from India for getting access to Jadhav.

India made several submissions to Pakistan for allowing Indian officials to visit Jadhav in custody but they did not get any positive response from Islamabad.

On Thursday, reiterating the official position of India, spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs Raveesh Kumar said at the weekly briefing that Paksistan should comply with the ICJ directive and provide consular access to Jadhav without “any further delay”.

The ICJ, in its 42-page verdict, instructed Pakistan not to carry out the death sentence awarded to Jadhav and urged Islamabad to review and reconsider the sentence.

“Islamic Republic of Pakistan deprived the Republic of India of the right to communicate with and have access to Mr. Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav, to visit him in detention and to arrange for his legal representation, and thereby breached the obligations incumbent upon it under Article 36, paragraph 1 (a) and (c), of the Vienna Convention,” said the ICJ in a press release.

India’s lead counsel had Harish Salve stated on Wednesday that he expected Pakistani lawyers to defend Jadhav in the court of law in Pakistan.

Pakistan has maintained that Jadhav did not carry his authentic Indian passport while entering its territory and alleged that he carried a fake travel document that depicted his name as ‘Hussain Mubarak Patel’ and that he was responsible for acts of sabotage inside Pakistan.

In response, Mr. Kumar on Thursday said it was time for Pakistan “to act” and help Indian consular officers to go and meet Jadhav, who has not been seen for months. Jadhav was last seen in December 2017 when his mother and wife had travelled to Pakistan to see him at the time of Christmas.

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