Kulbhushan Jadhav meets wife, mother from behind glass screen; Pakistan releases another 'confessional video'

Kulbhushan Jadhav, who is on death row in Pakistan for alleged spying, met his wife and mother — but separated by a glass screen — in a carefully choreographed event that unfolded in tweets, photos and TV footage.  The Indian envoy who was present, was allowed to witness the meeting at a distance.  This was the first meeting between Jadhav, who was convicted of espionage in Pakistan, and his family, since his arrest on 3 March, 2016.

The Pakistan foreign office tweeted:

Pakistan permits the meeting of wife and mother of Commander Jadhav with him, as a humanitarian gesture, on the birthday of the Father of the nation, Quaid e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

The mother and wife of Commander Jadhav sitting comfortably in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs pakistan . We honour our commitments pic.twitter.com/hILiMyp7Zl

— Dr Mohammad Faisal (@ForeignOfficePk) December 25, 2017

The meeting ended around 3:40 pm. Jadhav's mother Avanti and wife Chetankul left leave for India on Monday. The family is expected to take a flight to New Delhi via Oman.

 Kulbhushan Jadhav meets wife, mother from behind glass screen; Pakistan releases another confessional video

A file image of Kulbhushan Jadhav.

Pakistan foreign office briefs media

Pakistan foreign office, briefing the media, started with a recorded video statement by Jadhav, where he thanked the Pakistani government for allowing him to meet his family on humanitarian grounds. He is once again seen repeating his so-called confession.  "I am very thankful to the government of Pakistan for the humanitarian gesture," Jadhav was heard saying in the video.  The video statement, where he was seen briefly recounting the so-called confession, was apparently recorded sometime before he met his family.

Mohammed Faisal, spokesperson, Pakistan foreign ministry, said: "Commander Jadhav is the face of Indian terrorism in Pakistan. We permitted the Indian request purely on humanitarian grounds as in accordance with Islamic morals and teachings," he said,  adding "many mothers have lost their sons" due to "Commander Jadhav's action at Indian behest."

The MoFA also showed Jadhav's medical report and claimed he was in excellent health. The Pakistan foreign office spokesperson reiterated that the meeting does not mean any change in Pakistan’s stance regarding Jadhav. “Jadhav is a spy and terrorist. He has been sentenced to death by Pakistan,” he said.

"Pakistan has honoured all its commitments. The Indian consular was told beforehand that he will be able to see the meeting and so he was allowed. If we had allowed him to speak or listen to Jadhav, it would have come under the issue of consular access. We will decide about it in due course," foreign office spokesperson said.

"Jadhav is the face of Indian terror in Pakistan. He has confessed to killing Aslam Chaudhary. He expressed remorse for taking Pakistani lives. Jadhav, who is a serving naval officer, has confessed to being a R&AW agent," the Pakistan foreign office spokesperson said.

Reactions from this side of the border

Sachin Kale, Kulbhushan's friend, told CNN-News18 that there was international pressure on Pakistan and that they were forced to organise this meet.  It was an open meeting, we are looking forward to a statement from Jadhav's family, Kale added.

Shashi Tharoor, speaking to ANI, said, "In one sense, it is a step forward because 22 months after they arrested this poor man, finally somebody is able to see him. On the other hand, the way in which role unfolded was deeply unsatisfactory."

Subramanian Swamy, speaking to CNN-News18, said Pakistan should have allowed one-on-one contact to Jadhav's family and the meeting should have been private.

How the day unfolded

Accompanied by Deputy High Commissioner JP Singh and a Pakistani woman official, TV footage showed Jadhav's family entering the main building of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) and the door shutting behind them.

From Pakistan's side, Foreign Office Director India Dr Fareha Bugti was present at the meeting. Jadhav's wife and mother greeted the media persons after arrival but refused to respond to their questions. Jadhav's family arrived at the MoFA from the Indian High Commission where they stayed for more than half an hour.

Jadhav was at the ministry before his family arrived. It was not known where he had been kept before being transported to the ministry. Strict security measures are in place at the ministry, officials said.

TV footage showed a convoy of around seven vehicles escorting Jadhav's family in the city. Police and paramilitary security forces, including sharpshooters, were deployed at the MoFA to deal with any untoward security situation, they said. Roads leading to the Constitution Avenue, on which MOFA is located, were closed for traffic. Special security passes were issued for those visiting the Foreign Office, the officials added.

Pakistan has announced it would issue photos and a video of the meeting. The mother and wife of Jadhav were being provided with a meeting with him in the light of "Islamic traditions and based on purely humanitarian grounds," Faisal had said. Pakistan on 20 December issued visa to Jadhav's wife and mother to visit Islamabad to meet him.

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 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.

With inputs from PTI

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Updated Date: Dec 26, 2017 06:39:27 IST

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