India demands consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav

India demands consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav

Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan Gautam Bambawale handed over the appeal to Pakistan Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua during a meeting in Islamabad against capital punishment to Jadhav under Section 133 (B) (seeking to go to Court of Appeals) of the Pakistan Army Act.

However, Pakistani media reported that Janjua turned down Bambawale's demand saying, "access under (bilateral) agreement is meant for prisoners and not for spies".

Meanwhile, Pakistan Army spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor has already rejected any chance of granting consular access to Jadhav, who was sentenced to death for espionage and subversive activities.

India today handed over to Pakistan an appeal by the mother of retired Indian Navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav, sentenced to death by a military court, to the appellate court, initiating a process to get his conviction overturned.

Jadhav, who was caught in Balochistan in 2016 and had confessed in a recorded video for fomenting terrorism in Pakistan, was awarded the death penalty in an unprecedented decision that instantly sparked a bitter diplomatic spat between the two countries.

He said that the Indian spy had been visiting Pakistan regularly since 2003, and was carrying a genuine Indian passport under a fake Muslim name, Mubarak Hussain Patel.

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Pakistan claims its security forces had arrested Jadhav from Balochistan province on March 3 previous year after he reportedly entered from Iran.

This came a day after Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar had met Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit and made similar points.

With both of Jhadav's parents having applied for visas with the Pakistan high commission in Delhi this week, India's top diplomats asked Pakistan to facilitate the approval of their applications. He had told reporters after the meeting that he had demanded a certified copy of the chargesheet and judgement so that India could appeal against the sentence. The MEA indicated that Mr. Jadhav's family members were likely to travel to Pakistan to fight the case.

This was the second time the Indian envoy met Janjua since April 14 to discuss the case of Jadhav, who was arrested more than a year ago.

The Pakistan Army had before said there will be "no bargain" on the issue of capital punishment granted to Jadhav.

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