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Jul 17, 2020
2:11PM

India says consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav given by Pakistan was neither meaningful nor credible

FILE PIC
The External Affairs Ministry has said the Consular Officers were not given unimpeded, unhindered and unconditional access to Kulbhushan Jadhav by Pakistan. In a statement, Ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said on the contrary, Pakistani officials with an intimidating demeanour were present in close proximity of Mr Jadhav and Consular Officers despite the protests of the Indian side. He said, it was also evident from a camera that was visible that the conversation was being recorded. The Spokesperson said, Mr Jadhav himself was visibly under stress and indicated that clearly to the Consular Officers. The arrangements did not permit a free conversation between them and the Consular Officers could not engage Mr Jadhav on his legal rights and were prevented from obtaining his written consent for arranging his legal representation.

In the light of these circumstances, the Indian Consular Officers came to the conclusion that the consular access being offered by Pakistan was neither meaningful nor credible. After lodging a protest, they left the venue.

Mr Srivastava said it is clear that Pakistan’s approach to this matter continues to be obstructive and insincere. He said Pakistan has not only violated its assurance to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to fully implement the 2019 judgement, but also failed to act in accordance with its own Ordinance. He said, External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar has apprised the family of Mr Jadhav of these developments.
 
The Spokesperson also reiterated India's commitment to ensure the safe return of Mr Jadhav to India. He said the future course of action will be decided in the light of yesterday's events. The Spokesperson said, over the past year, India has requested Pakistan more than twelve times to provide unimpeded, unhindered and unconditional consular access to Mr Jadhav, who remains incarcerated in Pakistani custody since 2016. He said this consular access is of utmost importance, as it is the basis for a process of effective review and reconsideration ordered by the International Court of Justice in July last year of the conviction and sentence of Mr Jadhav by a Pakistani military tribunal.

The spokesperson said in May this year, Pakistan passed an Ordinance, ostensibly to comply with the order of the International Court of Justice. It inter-alia envisaged the Consular Officer of the High Commission of India filing a petition before a High Court for the relevant review and reconsideration. He said that in that context, the contacts and conversations between the Consular Officer and Jadhav assume great importance. He added that any conversation between them must necessarily take place in privacy and without the presence of any Pakistani official or recording by Pakistan. He said, it is only then that Mr Jadhav can speak freely without any concerns of reprisal as he remains in Pakistani custody after the meeting. The spokesperson said that it is already evident that Jadhav has been intimidated repeatedly in the past, including in being made to express his alleged disinclination to seek a review.  

India recently requested the Pakistani side for an unimpeded, unhindered and unconditional consular access to be provided on 13th July. Pakistan was asked to ensure that the meeting is held in an atmosphere free from fear of retribution and without the presence of any Pakistani official in the vicinity of Mr Jadhav and the Indian consular officials.  Pakistan was also requested to not record the meeting.

After extensive discussions, the Pakistan side conveyed that they were ready to organize consular access. Mr Srivastava said they were assured that this consular access would be unimpeded, unhindered and unconditional.  On the basis of this assurance by the Pakistani Foreign Ministry, two Consular Officers of the High Commission proceeded to the meeting with Mr Jadhav. He said however, neither the environment nor the arrangements of the meeting were in accordance with the assurances of Pakistan.

Mr Srivastava also said, India strongly protested against construction of Diamer Basha Dam to the Pakistan government. He said, it will lead to submergence of large parts of land of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. He said, India condemns attempts by Pakistan to bring about material changes in Indian territories under its illegal occupation.

The Spokesperson said, India has also consistently conveyed its protest and shared concerns with both China and Pakistan on all such projects in Indian territories under Pakistan's illegal occupation where it has no locus standi.

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