ISLAMABAD: Islamabad on Sunday turned down Delhi’s latest request for consular access to Indian navy officer turned Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) agent Kulbhushan Jadhav, terming the latter’s attempt to equate the self-confessed spy’s case with civilian prisoners a ‘travesty of logic’.
The snub came a day after India renewed the request while exchanging list of prisoners with Pakistan on Saturday. The lists were exchanged through diplomatic channels in line with the Consular Access Agreement between the two countries.
While exchanging the list, India asked Pakistan to grant full and early consular access to Indian nationals in its custody, including Hamid Nehal Ansari and Jadhav. The statement issued by the Indian external affairs ministry also claimed that New Delhi was willing to resolve the prisoners issue on humanitarian grounds with Pakistan.
However, a statement issued by Pakistan’s Foreign Office on Sunday termed Indian humanitarian claims “contrary to reality in view of the impossible conditionalities imposed for medical visas for Pakistani patients.”
“Under the directive of the Prime Minister, arrangements are being made for such treatments/operations to be carried out in Pakistan,” the statement read.
“As for the Indian attempt to equate Commander Jadhav’s case with civilian prisoners and fishermen, it is a travesty of logic,” it added. “Commander Jadhav is a serving Indian Naval officer sent to Pakistan by its [India’s] intelligence agency RAW for espionage, terrorism and subversive activities which resulted in loss of many innocent lives and damage to property.”
Jadhav, who was arrested in counter-intelligence operation from Balochistan in March last year, was sentenced to death in April on charges of espionage and involved in terrorist attacks. He recently filed a mercy petition to the Army Chief while admitting his involvement in terrorist activities in Pakistan.
India has repeatedly sought consular access to the detained spy agent but Pakistan has denied the request on the ground that 2008 bilateral agreement on consular access does not cover spies detained on terrorism charges.
India then approached the International Court of Justice, which granted an interim relief urging Pakistan not to execute the RAW agent till the case is decided.
The FO statement made it clear that Pakistan had implemented the bilateral consular agreement in letter and spirit and was committed to ensuring that humanitarian cases were not held hostage to politics. “We expect India to reciprocate through action rather than rhetoric.”
Giving details, FO said five Indian nationals who completed their sentence were repatriated on 22 June 2017. In contrast, 20 Pakistani civilian prisoners who have completed their sentence still await repatriation, while consular access to 107 Pakistani fishermen and 85 civilian Pakistani prisoners is also pending.
Additionally, two juvenile Pakistanis Ali Raza and Babar Ali, who inadvertently crossed the border in July 2016, despite orders of the Indian courts, were repatriated after a year’s delay on 5 June 2017.
Speaking to Radio Pakistan on Sunday, FO spokesperson Nafeez Zakaria said India’s subversive designs and involvement in financing terrorism in Pakistan stand exposed after Jadhav’s trial and former Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan’s confession.
He added that India has been using the soil of Afghanistan against Pakistan to promote terrorism.
Highlighting the ongoing situation in Indian Occupied Kashmir, Zakaria said human rights violations by Indian occupation forces were now known to the world. He added that Pakistan has informed the UN General Assembly and international community of Indian atrocities in the valley, while stressing that Kashmiris were struggling for their basic right to self-determination.