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Kulbhushan Jadhav row: India demands consular access in meeting with Pakistan foreign secretary

Indian high commissioner Gautam Bambawale met Pakistan foreign secretary Tehmina Janjua to discuss the Kulbhushan Jadhav issue on Wednesday, says media reports. Bambawale repeated India's demand for consular access during the meeting. India has also filed a petition in the Pakistan court against Jadhav's death sentence.

"Appeal, in Kulbhushan Jadhav case, filed by High Commissioner Gautam Bambawale with Pakistan Foreign Secretary in Islamabad on Wednesday," the Indian High Commission in Islamabad tweeted. However, Janjua turned down Bambawale's demand saying "access under (bilateral) agreement is meant for prisoners and not for spies."

According to Economic Times, on Tuesday, the Lahore High Court Bar Association, apparently under pressure from the Pakistan Army, had threatened to cancel the membership of any lawyer who offers his services to Jadhav.

A file photo of former Indian naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav. PTI

File image of former Indian naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav. PTI

On 14 April, Bambawale had met the Pakistani foreign secretary, showing increasing concern of India about the fate of Jadhav. He told media after his meeting that he had asked for list of charges and authentic copy of verdict of military tribunal against Jadhav to launch appeal against his conviction. He also said that India was seeking consular access on the basis on international law humanitarian grounds.

Early this week, Pakistan had rejected India's assertion that it is violating a bilateral pact by not giving access to retired Indian Navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav, who has been sentenced to death by a military court there. India has made 15 requests for consular access to 46-year-old Jadhav, who has been convicted of "espionage and sabotage" by a Pakistan army court.

Pakistan's high commissioner Abdul Basit had said in an interview that as per the bilateral pact on consular access, cases pertaining to political and security issues, will be decided on merit, indicating that consular access cannot be taken for granted.

Categorically dismissing the charge that Jadhav was a spy, India has maintained that he was kidnapped by Pakistani authorities from Iran where he had a legitimate business interest.

With inputs from agencies

Updated Date: Apr 26, 2017 16:31 PM

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