Sushma Swaraj attacks Pakistan for denying visa to Kulbhushan Jadhav’s mother
New Delhi: External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj on Monday attacked Pakistan for denying a visa to the mother of Kulbhushan Jadhav, the Indian national who is facing the death sentence in that country.
Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s advisor on foreign affairs Sartaj Aziz failed to even respond to a personal letter she wrote to him on the issue, Swaraj said.
The external affairs minister said India, by contrast, would immediately issue medical visas to Pakistani nationals for treatment in India if they are recommended by Aziz.
“I have my sympathies for all Pakistan nationals seeking medical visa for their treatment in India. I am sure Mr. Sartaj Aziz also has consideration for the nationals of his country. All that we require is his recommendation for the grant of medical visa to Pakistan nationals,” said Swaraj, in a string of tweets on Monday morning.
“I see no reason why should he hesitate to give his recommendation for nationals of his own country,” she added.
Pakistani nationals frequently travel to India for treatment of complex medical issues.
As per official Indian data, a total of 4,999 medical visas were issued to Pakistani nationals from 2013 to 2015.
They are part of an overall rising trend. In 2014, a total of 76,680 foreigners arrived in India on medical visas. The figure jumped to 134,344 in 2015 and more than doubled to 176,683 in 2016.
“We also have a visa application pending for an Indian national Avantika Jadhav who wants to meet her son in Pakistan against whom they have pronounced a death sentence. I wrote a personal letter to Mr. Sartaj Aziz for the grant of her visa to Pakistan. However, Mr. Aziz has not shown the courtesy even to acknowledge my letter,” she said.
But “Pakistan nationals seeking medical visa with a recommendation from Mr. Sartaj Aziz” will be issued visa immediately, she said.
Retired Indian Navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav was handed the death sentence by a military court in Pakistan in April for alleged espionage and subversive activities.
While India says Jadhav was kidnapped from Iran, Pakistan maintains that he was arrested from Balochistan province in Pakistan. India has also accused Pakistan of violating the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations after 16 of its requests for access to the 46-year-old former naval officer were denied.
Following that, India approached the Hague-based International Court of Justice (ICJ), which in an interim verdict in May, ruled unanimously that Pakistan shall take all measures to ensure that Jadhav is not executed pending the final decision in these proceedings, and shall keep the court informed of all the measures taken in implementation of its order.
In June, India issued a medical visa to a two-and-a-half-month-old baby from Pakistan, suffering from heart disease, after his father sought Swaraj’s intervention. The infant’s father had brought the matter to her notice on Twitter.