NEW DELHI, NOVEMBER 23, 2017 19:09 IST
UPDATED: NOVEMBER 23, 2017 22:01 IST
Islamabad offered to allow wife to visit him
The former Navy official Kulbhushan Jadhav’s mother and wife will travel to Islamabad if Pakistan gives sovereign guarantees for their safety during the visit, India said on Thursday.
Explaining the contents of a letter regarding the visit of Mr. Jadhav’s family members, the Ministry of External Affairs said India has also said an official of the Indian High Commission should be allowed to accompany them.
“In our response, we have conveyed that the wife of Mr. Jadhav would like to travel along with her mother-in-law for the meeting. We have also sought sovereign guarantees from the Government of Pakistan to ensure the safety, security and wellbeing of the wife and mother of Mr. Jadhav and that they shall not be questioned, harassed or interrogated during their visit and stay in Pakistan. We have further asked that a diplomat of the Indian High Commission in Islamabad shall be allowed to accompany them at all times, including during the meeting,” said spokesperson Raveesh Kumar.
The Hindu had earlier reported about India’s response to the humanitarian gesture of the Pakistan government to allow the wife to meet Mr. Jadhav, who has been in the custody of the Pakistan military.
Unconfirmed reports suggested that Pakistan is at present evaluating the Indian proposal.
Pakistan’s decision came months after India urged it to allow Mr. Jadhav’s mother to meet him.
The gesture is a significant point in the case which began in March 2016 when Pakistan arrested the former Navy officer and presented him to the world at a dramatic press conference.
Kulbhushan Jadhav case: India denied consular access again
The Ministry of External Affairs had applied more than a dozen times for consular access to Mr. Jadhav but Islamabad has not obliged it. The Ministry said on Thursday that India will not give up its campaign to free Mr. Jadhav.
“Let me underline that such a meeting (between Mr. Jadhav and his family members) offer does not absolve Pakistan of the violations of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations and Human Rights and not following the due process in treating Mr. Jadhav who remains incarcerated in Pakistan and faces death sentence through a farcical process and on concocted charges,” said the spokesperson. “We are determined to pursue all measures with full vigour so as to secure the final release of an innocent Indian,” he added.
Mr. Jadhav has the option of putting in mercy petitions to the highest offices of the Pakistani state but the government of Islamabad is already under criticism for allegedly being soft on the Indian captive who in his ‘video-taped confession’ stated that his role was to ensure sabotage and violence in Balochistan province.
In another Balochistan-related issue, the MEA spokesperson said the government is not aware of any request for application that the exiled Baloch leader Brahumdagh Bugti was supposed to file. Mr. Bugti announced on social media on Wednesday that Switzerland had rejected his application for asylum after seven years of consideration even as his followers took to the social media urging India to grant him asylum.
The Hindu had reported in September 2016 that Mr. Bugti had initiated the process of seeking asylum in India in order to seek greater freedom for his activism to ‘free’ Balochistan