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January 2020
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India accepts Pak's consular access to Jadhav, meeting to be held today
 
New Delhi: India has accepted the consular access extended by Pakistan to death-row convict Kulbhushan Jadhav and a senior Indian diplomat will meet him on Monday, official sources said as tensions over Kashmir simmer between the two countries.

Charge d' Affaires at the Indian High Commission in Islamabad Gaurav Ahluwalia will meet Jadhav, the sources said.

On Sunday, Pakistan announced it would grant consular access to Jadhav on Monday in line with the judgement in his case by the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

"We hope 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," said a source.

The venue of the meeting is not immediately known.

Jadhav, a retired Indian Navy officer, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of espionage and terrorism in April 2017. Weeks later, India approached the ICJ against Pakistan for denial of consular access to Jadhav and to challenge the death sentence.

In its verdict in the case on July 17, the ICJ ordered Pakistan to undertake an "effective" review of the conviction and sentence of Jadhav and asked it to grant consular access to him without further delay.

"The matter of denial of consular access was taken to ICJ by India. The court gave a unanimous decision in favour of India. Today, after victory in the ICJ, India will be proceeding for consular access to Jadhav," said the source.

On August 1, Pakistan Foreign Office said Jadhav will be granted consular access the next day. However, India did not accept the offer due to certain conditions put by Islamabad for the meeting.

One of the conditions was the presence of a Pakistani official when Jadhav is allowed to meet Indian officials as part of the consular access. India did not agree to the condition, saying the access must be "unimpeded" and in the spirit of the ICJ judgement.

The fresh offer for consular access to Jadhav came in the midst of spiralling tensions between the two countries after India withdrew Jammu and Kashmir's special status and bifurcated it into two union territories.

Pakistan has been trying to raise the issue at various international fora, but India has maintained that it is an internal matter.

Pakistan claims its security forces arrested Jadhav from the restive Balochistan province on March 3, 2016 after he reportedly entered from Iran.

However, India maintains that Jadhav was kidnapped from Iran where he had business interests after retiring from the Navy.


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