Kulbhushan Jadhav under pressure to parrot a false narrative says India

  • India's Deputy High Commissioner in Islamabad Gaurav Ahluwalia on Monday met Jadhav in a sub-jail for over an hour after Islamabad granted for consular access to him in line with the International Court of Justice directions.
  • The meeting between the senior Indian diplomat and Jadhav is the first since he was arrested on charges of alleged espionage three years ago.

India said that its former navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav, held by Pakistan for alleged espionage, seemed to be under "extreme pressure to parrot a false narrative" supporting the charges slapped on him.

India's Deputy High Commissioner in Islamabad Gaurav Ahluwalia on Monday met Jadhav in a sub-jail for over an hour after Islamabad granted for consular access to him in line with the International Court of Justice directions.

The meeting between the senior Indian diplomat and Jadhav is the first since he was arrested on charges of alleged espionage three years ago. According to the Express Tribune, the venue of the meeting was not divulged due to the sensitivity attached to the matter.

Following the meeting, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said while India was still awaiting a comprehensive report, it was clear that Jadhav "appeared to be under extreme pressure to parrot a false narrative to bolster Pakistan's untenable claims".

"We will decide a further course of action after receiving a detailed report from our Charge d' Affaires and determining the extent of conformity to the ICJ directives," MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in a press briefing.

"The Charge d' Affaires, High Commission of India in Islamabad, met Jadhav on today (Monday). This meeting was held in the light of unanimous judgement of the International Court of Justice delivered on July 17, 2019 which found Pakistan in egregious violation of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, 1963 on many counts and ordered Pakistan to provide Indian consular officers access to Jadhav."

Kumar said that the consular access was a part of the binding obligations of Pakistan, as ordered by the ICJ, to ensure "effective review and reconsideration of the conviction and sentence awarded to Jadhav through a farcical process".

The spokesman also said that External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar has spoken to Jadhav's mother and briefed her of developments.

Kumar said India remains committed to continue to work towards ensuring that Jadhav returns safely to India.

On Sunday, Pakistan said it would provide consular access to Jadhav, the second time since its first offer made on August 1.

Accepting the offer of consular access to Jadhav, India said it hoped Pakistan would ensure "right atmosphere" for the meeting, so that the meeting is "free, fair, meaningful and effective in keeping with the letter and spirit of the ICJ orders".

Jadhav was allegedly "arrested" from Balochistan by Pakistani security forces on March 3, 2016. In April 2017, he was sentenced to death by a military court, after which India approached the ICJ.

Pakistan has claimed that Jadhav was arrested after he entered the country from Iran. India has, however, rejected Pakistan's claims and has always maintained that Jadhav was kidnapped when he was in Iran on a business trip.

In its July 17 verdict, the ICJ had directed Pakistan for continued stay on the death sentence of Jadhav and to provide him consular access.

India had declined the earlier offer of consular access to Jadhav as Pakistan had set some conditions, like insisting that it will have its own person present during the meeting between Indian officials and Jadhav.

Pakistan had refused to allow Indian officials to meet Jadhav ever since his "arrest".
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