Pakistan offers India unimpeded consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav; invites it for case proceedings on September 3

Pakistan on Thursday evening offered India unimpeded and unhindered consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav with no mandatory use of English as a medium for conversation. It also invited India to be a part of the case proceedings of Jadhav on September 3 at the Islamabad High Court and conveyed that India can appoint a lawyer of its own choice to fight the case.

The Pakistani government in the proposal for consular access said willing to give “unimpeded” and “unhindered” access without any “glass barrier” and conversation that can happen in any language. This is a departure from its previous stance when it said, the mode of language for talks between Jadhav and Indian diplomats should be only English.

This comes days after the Islamabad High Court order that the Indian government should be “authorized” to arrange a lawyer for the case. The next date of the case is September 3 at 2.30 pm (IST). Pakistani Attorney General Khalid Javed Khan speaking to media outside the court on August 3 (Monday) had said, “Court said, if India wants to engage lawyer, it can do. Federal government also wants that. Only Pakistani lawyers can be allowed.”

Earlier on Thursday, India asserted that there has been no communication from Pakistan on the Jadhav case. Addressing a press conference, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Anurag Srivastava stated that Indian officials need unhindered and unimpeded consular access to Jadhav. “Pakistan needs to address basic issues which pertain to effective review, fulfilment and implementation of ICJ judgement. These issues pertain to making relevant documentation available to us and providing unimpeded, unhindered and unconditional consular access to Jadhav,” said Srivastava.

In May, Pakistan had come up with an ordinance to implement the International Court of Justice (ICJ) verdict of 2019. Under the ordinance, India on behalf of Jadhav can file review for the case. In fact, India had appointed a Pakistani lawyer to fight the case in Pakistan court but the person was not given relevant legal document. 

India did try to file a petition on July 18, just two days before the ordinance expires, but in absence of power of attorney and supporting legal documents, that could not be done. While Pakistan had called Indian diplomats to meet Jadhav terming it “consular access” before the ordinance expires, the Ministry of External Affairs has said that the meet was scuttled by Pakistan authorities.

The MEA said, “The Consular officers were instructed not to hand over any document to Jadhav. Hence, the Indian consular officers could not obtain a power of attorney from Jadhav.”

Jadhav was abducted by Pakistani agencies from Iran and New Delhi was first informed about his custody by Pakistani authorities on March 25, 2016, after which in 2017, Islamabad announced that military has awarded death sentence to him.

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