Indian High Commissioner in Islamabad Gautam Bambawale today met Pakistan Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua to gain consular access to retired Indian Navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav, who has been given death sentence by a Pakistani military court on charges of espionage and sabotage.
Bambawale raised the issue of consular access to Jadhav as Pakistan has rejected 13 of India's requests since the 46-year-old Indian was arrested by Pakistan in March last year. "Pakistan has denied our request for consular access 13 times," Bambawale said.
India has also sought from Pakistan the certified copies of the chargesheet against Jadhav and judgment of the Pakistani military court, which delivered the death sentence. Apart from diplomatic options, India will also explore legal remedies permitted under Pakistan legal system, including Jadhav's family appealing against the verdict.
INDIA STUDYING PAK ARMY ACT
The MEA said Bambawale raised the demands - copies of chargesheet and judgment by Pakistan military court against Jadhav. It said India has conveyed to Pakistan that New Delhi will appeal the order and are studying Pakistan army act.
India has demanded consular access to Jadhav for the 14th time. Pakistan said since this is case of espionage, consular access can't be granted, but the MEA said the Pakistani High Court has said that under international law, it must be granted.
Union Minister of State for External Affairs MJ Akbar today said India was trying to secure justice for Jadhav. "Injustice has been meted out to him (Jadhav). A kangaroo court has slapped this charge. In spite of all these, we are trying to secure justice for him. We are eager for his return," he said in West Bengal.
"If Kulbhushan Jadhav had a valid Indian passport, then how can he be a spy?" asked General VK Singh, Akbar's colleague in the same ministry.
On Thursday, the Ministry of External Affairs had said India has no information on Kulbhushan Jadhav's location in Pakistan or his condition and added that the government is in touch with Pakistani authorities on this "immensely important" issue.
Asserting that the whole country's sentiment is with Jadhav, external affairs ministry spokesperson Gopal Baglay said the government will not spare any effort in securing justice for the "kidnapped innocent" Indian national but refused to divulge details.
Baglay criticised the Pakistan government for not sharing Jadhav's location and details of his condition, adding that the international norm is consular access, and India and Pakistan have a bilateral agreement on consular access.
VISA CURBS FOR PAKISTAN NATIONALS
Earlier in the day it was reported that New Delhi is likely to impose visa curbs for Pakistani nationals visiting India.
The step is possibly the first retaliatory measure from India following the death sentence given to Jadhav on charges of spying. Both countries have been at loggerheads over the issue of diplomatic visas over the last six months.
While the Pakistan Army has categorically ruled out any compromise in Kulbhushan Jadhav's case, the Lahore High Court Bar Association today warned lawyers of stern action if they offered to legally represent the Indian national.