ISLAMABAD: The meeting between a senior Indian diplomat and convicted India spy Kulbhushan Jadhav was held on Monday after Pakistan formally granted the consular access to the convicted spy in line with the decision of International Court of Justice.
However, sources refused to share further details including the venue of meeting because of the sensitivity attached to the matter. The meeting reportedly lasted more than an hour.
A senior Indian government official earlier on Monday confirmed New Delhi’s acceptance of Islamabad’s offer and told AFP that New Delhi hoped “Pakistan will ensure right atmosphere so that the meeting is free, fair, meaningful and effective in keeping with the letter and spirit of the ICJ orders”.
According to The Hindu, Charge d’Affaires at the Indian High Commission in Islamabad Gaurav Ahluwalia met Jadhav. He earlier said: “We hope that Pakistan will ensure the right atmosphere so that the meeting is free, fair, meaningful and effective in keeping with the letter and spirit of the ICJ orders”.
On Sunday, Pakistan said it would grant consular access to Jhadav, weeks after the International Court of Justice urged Pakistan to undertake “effective review” of the case, adding that a “continued stay of execution” was needed for that to happen.
“Consular access for Indian spy Commander Kulbhushan Jadhav, a serving Indian naval officer and RAW operative, is being provided on Monday 2 September 2019,” Foreign Office Spokesperson Mohammad Faisal said in a tweet late Sunday.
The former Indian naval officer was arrested on March 2016 in Pakistan’s restive southwestern province of Balochistan – a region where Islamabad has long accused New Delhi of backing separatist rebels. He was convicted of planning espionage and sabotage and sentenced to death by a military
India claimed Jadhav retired from the navy in 2001 and was running a “logistics” business in the Iranian port of Chabahar. New Delhi insists he was taken captive in Iran before being moved to Pakistan and then forced to confess. India then approached the UN court to intervene saying his trial had been unfair and Pakistan had denied him diplomatic assistance.
Pakistan maintained that that a treaty between the neighbors did not oblige it to allow diplomatic assistance for those suspected of being spies or terrorists. The ICJ decision was a favourable outcome for Pakistan as the court did not order the acquittal and release of Jadhav.
Tensions have soared between the arch-rivals in recent weeks following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s move last month to revoke the autonomy of the Indian-occupied Kashmir.
In response, Prime Minister Imran Khan has launched a diplomatic offensive against India and led mass protests lambasting Modi.
(With additional input from News Desk, AFP and Reuters.)