New Delhi: India believes Pakistan’s sudden decision to grant second round of consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav, who is serving a death sentence in that country, cannot be seen in isolation with what China has been doing in Ladakh, ThePrint has learnt.
According to official sources, while India has been seeking a second consular access to Jadhav ever since it got the first one on 2 September last year, during which he appeared to be under “extreme pressure”, Pakistan chose to approve the request only now.
On Wednesday, Pakistan’s Additional Attorney General Ahmed Irfan announced at a press conference that it has granted India a second consular access to Jadhav.
Sources said Pakistan had been refusing to grant the second consular access after offering the first one last year, citing the verdict given by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague in July 2019.
Jadhav, a retired Indian Navy officer, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of espionage and terrorism in April 2017. The ICJ had last year stayed Jadhav’s execution. India had filed a case before the ICJ in May 2017 to get consular access to Jadhav.
Sources said New Delhi believes Pakistan is doing this “deliberately” and is a “conspiracy” as India and China are taking the first steps towards de-escalation of the border standoff going on for over two months along the Line of Actual Control in Eastern Ladakh, by opening up another challenging diplomatic front for India.
The India-China border standoff this time witnessed the killing of 20 soldiers during a violent face-off at Galwan River Valley with Chinese troops. As a result of which, India has put most of its diplomatic focus on that front.
Jadhav was ‘forced’ not to file a review plea
Sources said Jadhav was “forced” not to file a review plea of his death sentence by Pakistani authorities, which granted him permission to meet his family.
Irfan, during the press conference, said Jadhav was asked “to file a review and reconsideration of his sentence and conviction”.
“Exercising the legal right, he refused to file a petition for review and reconsideration of his sentence and conviction,” he said.
According to Irfan, Jadhav was asked to file the review petition on 17 June.
“Pakistan is fully cognizant of its international obligations and committed to implementing the ICJ judgment in letter and spirit,” he said, adding that an ordinance was issued in May that allowed Jadhav or his legal representative or a representative of the Indian High Commission in Islamabad to file a review petition in line with the ICJ verdict of July last year.
India has time until 19 July to respond to the ordinance, following which Jadhav will have to rely on the mercy petition he had filed before Army Chief Qamar Bajwa in June 2017 after his death sentence was announced.