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Islamabad: A vehicle carrying an Indian diplomat leaves the foreign ministry following a meeting with Kulbhushan Jadhav. (Photo: AP)
Islamabad: A vehicle carrying an Indian diplomat leaves the foreign ministry following a meeting with Kulbhushan Jadhav. (Photo: AP)

Kulbhushan Jadhav under pressure to back Pakistan’s false narrative: MEA

  • Statement comes after Indian envoy meets Jadhav at a sub-jail for the first time in 3 years after his arrest
  • Pakistan allowed India consular access to Jadhav on Monday on ICJ’s July ruling

NEW DELHI : Kulbhushan Jadhav, who is on death row in Pakistan, appeared to be under “extreme pressure" to corroborate Islamabad’s false narrative, the ministry of external affairs said on Monday.

The statement came soon after Indian deputy high commissioner Gaurav Ahluwalia met the former navy officer for an hour at a sub-jail. In July, the Hague-based International Court of Justice (ICJ) had stayed Jadhav’s execution and ruled that India be allowed consular access to him.

In 2016, Jadhav was picked up by Pakistani intelligence agencies from the restive Balochistan province and was subsequently put on death row for alleged espionage by a military court.

New Delhi had acknowledged that Jadhav was an Indian national and a former navy officer, but denied that he was a spy. He was captured months after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s trip to Pakistan in December 2015—marking the first official visit by an Indian prime minister in over a decade.

“While we await 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," the Indian foreign ministry statement said. “We will decide the further course of action after receiving a detailed report from our Cd’A (Charge d’Affaires) and determining the extent of conformity to the ICJ directives."

“The government remains committed to continue to work towards ensuring that Jadhav receives justice at the earliest and returns safely to India," it said, adding that Indian foreign minister S. Jaishankar had informed Jadhav’s wife about the details of the meeting.

New Delhi had previously sought a “free, fair, meaningful" meeting in keeping with the letter and spirit of the ICJ orders—a meeting that would allow Jadhav to speak freely without the presence of any Pakistani official. India had also said that the proceedings during the meeting cannot be recorded.

But a statement put out by the Pakistani foreign office clearly stated that the “two hour meeting was “recorded" and also monitored by Pakistani officials.

“Consular access was provided...in the presence of officials of the government of Pakistan," it added. “On Indian request, there was no restriction on the language of communication. In order to ensure transparency and in line with standard operating procedures, and as conveyed to the Indian side in advance, the access was recorded."

“As a responsible member of the international community and in line with our international commitments, Pakistan has provided unimpeded, uninterrupted consular access to India to commander Jadhav," it added.

The grant of access to Jadhav is unlikely to bring down tensions between India and Pakistan over a suicide attack in Kashmir’s Pulwama on 14 February, and the subsequent decision by the Indian government to revoke Jammu and Kashmir’s special status under Article 370 of the Constitution. Pakistan, which had pledged its support to what it calls the freedom movement in Kashmir, has since been approaching international fora to denounce the Indian move, but without much success.

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