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India makes fresh request for ‘unrestricted’ consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav in Pakistan

Pakistan told India earlier this month that Kulbhushan Jadhav, who is on death row, has refused to file a review plea of his sentence.

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New Delhi: A week after Pakistan said Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav, who is serving a death sentence in that country, has refused to file a review plea of his death sentence, India has made a fresh request seeking “unimpeded and unrestricted” consular access, ThePrint has learnt.

According to sources, while Pakistan had said earlier this month that it is ready to grant a second consular access to Jadhav, New Delhi is insistent that it will have to be “unimpeded and unrestricted”, unlike the first consular access granted in September last year. 

Jadhav, a retired Indian Navy officer, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of espionage and terrorism in April 2017. Subsequently, India had filed a case before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague in May 2017 to get consular access to Jadhav.

The ICJ verdict in July last year stayed Jadhav’s execution and Pakistan was asked to grant consular access to him. 

Pakistan will have to grant “unimpeded and unrestricted” consular access based on the ICJ judgment that gave the verdict of a “free and fair trial” as pre-conditions in the Jadhav case, according to sources. 

“We have been requesting for unimpeded and unrestricted CA repeatedly over the past one year,” a senior official, who refused to be identified, told ThePrint. 

India looking at 19 July deadline

India is now staring at a 19 July deadline to file the review petition of Jadhav’s death sentence by responding to an ordinance, following which Jadhav will have to rely on the mercy petition he had filed before Pakistan Army Chief Qamar Bajwa in June 2017 after his death sentence was announced. 

On 8 July, Pakistan’s Additional Attorney General Ahmed Irfan had announced at a press conference that it has granted India a second consular access to Jadhav. In May, Pakistani authorities allowed Jadhav or his legal representative or a representative of the Indian High Commission in Islamabad to file a review petition, which was in line with the ICJ verdict. 

However, New Delhi has said it will engage an Indian lawyer to file the review petition on his behalf, which Pakistan has refused.

Also read: Iran to develop Chabahar rail link on its own, but says ‘doors are open’ for India to join


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