ISLAMABAD: In a surprise development, Pakistan on Friday offered a meeting between convicted Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav and his wife on “humanitarian grounds”.

Convicted Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav.— Photo: ISPR/File
Convicted Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav.— Photo: ISPR/File

“The Government of Pakistan has decided to arrange a meeting of Commander Kulbhushan Jadhav with his wife, in Pakistan, purely on humanitarian grounds,” the Foreign Office said in a statement.

The decision was communicated to the Indian government through a note verbale sent to the Indian High Commission in Islamabad.

Apparently in an effort to re-emphasise the government’s position on the case, the FO statement mentioned the service status of Jadhav. “Commander Kulbhushan Jadhav alias, Hussain Mubarak Patel, a serving Commander of the Indian Navy, working with Indian Intelligence Agency/RAW was apprehended by Pakistan law enforcement agencies,” the FO said and noted that he had confessed to have been “asked by RAW to plan, coordinate and organise espionage, terrorist and sabotage activities aimed at destabilising and waging war against Pakistan”.

FO says decision based on ‘humanitarian grounds’

There was no immediate res­ponse from India’s external affairs ministry or its high commission in Islamabad on the Pakistani offer.

Jadhav, who was captured by security forces on March 3 last year in Balochistan, was sentenced to death by a military tribunal earlier this year for his involvement in terrorism and espionage. His appeals against the conviction have been rejected by military appellate court and his mercy petition has been lying with Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa.

Islamabad has ever since Jadhav’s capture refused all requests from New Delhi for consular access to him arguing that in cases pertaining to political and security issues access could not be granted automatically and other considerations had to be factored in.

India has challenged Pakistan’s refusal to grant consular access to the spy in the International Court of Justice. The ICJ is hearing the case and has restrained the Pakistan government from executing him till it decides the case.

The government has not as yet responded to a request from Jadhav’s mother for a meeting with her son.

Indian media last month reported that External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had in her first meeting with the new Pakistani envoy Sohail Mehmood asked Islamabad to review its position in Jadhav’s case and grant his mother the visa to visit her son.

Pakistan’s Foreign Office had then denied the media report as speculative.

Published in Dawn, November 11th, 2017