New Delhi: Ending a nearly two-year-long wait, the wife and mother of a former Indian navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav, who is facing death penalty in Pakistan, finally met him at the heavily guarded foreign ministry in Islamabad on Monday.

Pakistan also clarified that the family meeting in the presence of India’s deputy high commissioner J.P. Singh did not constitute "consular access" and said it was not the last meeting Jadhav would have with his family. Jadhav’s wife and mother were issued visas last week to visit Pakistan.

Pakistan has denied 22 requests by India seeking consular access to Jadhav since March 2016. Pakistan’s foreign office spokesperson Mohammad Faisal said on Monday that “all decisions on consular access will be taken on basis of law and interests of Pakistan."

J.P. Singh, who accompanied the family, was not allowed to speak or listen in on the conversation they had with Jadhav.

Jadhav met his mother Avanti and wife Chetankul for a little over 40 minutes. Jadhav was separated from his family by a glass screen. The communication between them was through an intercom device.

The event seemed to be carefully planned. Pakistan authorities released the family’s photographs on Twitter and a video of Jadhav wherein he thanked the Pakistani government for allowing him to meet his family.

In the video, which was recorded before he met his family, Jadhav said, “I requested a meeting with my wife and mother and I am thankful to the government of Pakistan for this gesture."

Faisal said the Pakistan government had promised a 30-minute meeting but prolonged it at the request of Jadhav and his mother. He added that Jadhav’s wife and mother “thanked Pakistan" for the meeting while going away.

Jadhav, 47, was arrested by the Pakistani authorities in 2016 and was later accused of fomenting trouble in the restive Balochistan province. India says Jadhav was on business in Iran when he was kidnapped.

Subsequently, Jadhav was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court in April on charges of espionage and terrorism. India approached the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in May to halt his execution, an appeal which was granted pending a final verdict.

The ICJ is expected to hold another hearing on the case in the next few months.

Faisal, meanwhile, maintained that the family’s meeting was not connected to the ICJ case and was granted on humanitarian grounds. “Pakistan permits the meeting of wife and mother of Commander Jadhav with him, as a humanitarian gesture, on the birthday of the father of the nation, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah," Faisal tweeted.

Faisal said that since Pakistan had allowed Jadhav’s family to meet him, India should reciprocate by allowing the families of detained Kashmiris to meet their relatives.

The spokesperson also showed a medical test of Jadhav conducted on 22 December to show that he was in fine health.

PTI contributed to this story.

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