The case of Kulbhushan Jadhav is getting complicated. Pakistan has reportedly blocked all options for effective remedy available to New Delhi in the case of alleged Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav, India’s Foreign Ministry stated.
At a news briefing, Anurag Srivastava, a spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs, said Islamabad failed to provide “unimpeded and unhindered consular access as well as relevant documents.”
“India has so far requested consular access 12 times over the past one year. However, Pakistan has so far not been able to provide an unimpeded consular access,” he said. “The meeting of consular officers with Jadhav on July 16 was scuttled by Pakistani authorities.”
He said consular officers were instructed not to hand over any document to Jadhav and could not obtain his signature on documents needed to file a review petition for the death sentence awarded to him by a Pakistani military court.
“In the absence of an unimpeded and unhindered consular access as well as of the relevant documents, as a last resort, India tried to file a petition on July 18,” said Srivastava.
“However, our Pakistani lawyer informed that a review petition could not be filed in the absence of power of attorney and supporting documents related to the case of Jadhav.”
– ‘Obfuscatory tactics’
Islamabad rejected New Delhi’s claims as its “usual dilatory and obfuscatory tactics.”
“Pakistan remains committed to the implementation of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) judgment of July 17, 2019. Necessary steps have been taken in this regard, including the provision of unimpeded and uninterrupted consular access to India,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Aisha Farooqui told reporters on Thursday.
“India has, however, been using various pretexts to hinder the process for review and reconsideration.”
She said Pakistan has also offered India third counselor access but there has been no response from New Delhi yet.
“The first consular access was provided on September 2 last year and the second on July 16 this year. Pakistan has offered a third consular access as well,” Farooqui said.
“We hope that rather than using its usual dilatory and obfuscatory tactics, India will cooperate with Pakistan’s courts to give effect to the judgment of the ICJ.”
She said Pakistan recognized its international obligation and invited Jadhav and India to file a review appeal.
“Neither has done so till date,” the official said.
– ‘Spy’ case background
Jadhav – who Pakistan says was a serving officer in the Indian Navy – was arrested in 2016 in the town of Mashkel in the western Balochistan province, a few miles from the border with Iran.
Allegedly disguised as Mubarak Hussein Patel, a Muslim, he was accused of running a spy network for the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), India’s premier intelligence agency, from the Iranian port of Chabahar.
New Delhi denies Islamabad’s charges, declaring Jadhav a retired naval officer who was “kidnapped” in Iran, where he was doing business but his presence in Pakistan was never explained credibly.
A Pakistan military court sentenced Jadhav to death in April 2017 on espionage and terrorism charges. No date, however, was set for his execution, which would be by hanging.
India approached the ICJ, which stayed the execution in May 2017, pending a final decision in the proceedings.
In July 2019, the ICJ ruled that Jadhav be treated under the Vienna Convention, asking Pakistan to provide him consular access and continue to stay his execution.
* Islamuddin Sajid contributed to this story from Islamabad