India on Friday demanded a certified copy of the chargesheet and judgement and also sought consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav from Pakistan in connection with the death sentence given to Jadhav, a former Indian Navy officer who was convicted for spying by an army court in Pakistan recently.
"I have asked for a certified copy of the charge-sheet as well as the judgement in the death sentence of Kulbhushan Jadhav. They have denied our request for consular access 13 times (in the last one year). I have again requested the Pakistan Foreign Secretary to give access to Jadhav so that we can appeal," Indian High Commissioner in Islamabad Gautam Bambawale told the Press Trust of India (PTI) after meeting with the Pakistan foreign secretary.
Pakistan has rejected India's demand for consular access to Jadhav several times in the past. However, Bambawale has again demanded access to the former Navy officer.
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The Ministry of External Affairs issued a statement saying that the Indian government conveyed to Pakistan its decision to appeal against the court order and are also studying the Pakistan Army Act. The statement added that the Pakistan High Court has also maintained that Jadhav must be given consular access.
"India demanded consular access to Jadhav for 14th time. Pakistan Foreign Secretary said since this is a case of espionage, consular access can't be granted. But the High Court has said that under international law, it must be granted," the MEA said.
Sartaj Aziz defends Jadhav's death sentence
Adviser to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz defended the Pakistan Army Court's verdict saying, "Why would an innocent person possess two passports? One with Hindu and other a Muslim name? He was sentenced as per the law of the land. He (Jadhav) was involved in subversive activities in Pakistan, and was holding two passports, for which India has no answer." He added that Jadhav has 40 days to appeal against the order in the apex court.
Aziz, while claiming that Jadhav is a serving officer in the Indian Navy, slammed India's claim that the 46-year-old Indian national was captured in Iran. "It's all rhetoric that he was captured in Iran. He has the right to file a review in the supreme court and also file a mercy petition to the army chief and the president in 40 days," Aziz said, adding that both countries "should respect each others' sovereignty."
Indian Army Chief General Bajwa had confirmed that the Pakistan court has sentenced Jadhav to death after the Field General Court Martial found him guilty of "espionage and sabotage activities" in Pakistan. The neighbouring country has claimed that Jadhav was arrested from the Balochistan province by security forces on March 3, 2016, after he entered the territory from Iran.
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Pakistan also claimed that Jadhav was "a serving officer in the Indian Navy" and that the Pakistan Army released a "confessional video" of the former naval officer after he was arrested. However, India denied that Jadhav has any connection with the government, but acknowledged that he had served in the Indian Navy.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj also warned Pakistan that if Jadhav was executed, that would amount to "pre-meditated murder" and that they should "consider its consequences" on bilateral relations.