ISLAMABAD: India has ‘positively’ responded to Pakistan’s offer for a meeting between convicted Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav and his wife, but made a few ‘requests’, a diplomatic source said on Saturday.

Islamabad last week took New Delhi by surprise by offering a meeting between Jadhav and his wife and it took a week for the latter to respond to the gesture, which Pakistan had said was on humanitarian grounds and as per “Islamic traditions and jurisprudence”.

It should be recalled that earlier Islamabad had denied multiple requests from Delhi for consular access to Jadhav and had so far not taken a decision on the visa application of Jadhav’s mother Avantika, who wanted to visit Pakistan for a meeting with her son.

Directors general of military operations hold unscheduled hotline interaction over continuing ceasefire violations by India along LoC

New Delhi did not make public its response to the offer. The media came to know about it through a tweet by Foreign Office spokesman Dr Mohammad Faisal, who also heads the South Asia directorate at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“Indian Reply to Pakistan’s Humanitarian offer for Commander Jadhav received and is being considered,” Dr Faisal tweeted.

No details about the Indian response were, however, released.

A diplomatic source talking to Dawn said one of the requests was that Jadhav’s mother be also permitted to meet him.

Jadhav’s mother, it should be recalled, had earlier submitted a petition against her son’s death sentence and had also pleaded to the federal government to intervene for his release.

The source said that the tone of the letter was positive and indicated New Delhi’s desire to avail the offer.

Jadhav, who was captured by Pakistani security forces on March 3, 2016, 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 the military appellate court and his mercy petition has been lying with Army Chief Gen Qamar Bajwa.

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.

Meanwhile, Directors General of Military Operations (DGMOs) of India and Pakistan held on Saturday evening an unscheduled hotline interaction over continuing ceasefire violations along the Line of Control.

The hotline conversation was requested by Pakistan.

Pakistan’s DGMO Maj Gen Sahir Shamshad Mirza protested over targeting of civilian population.

India has violated ceasefire along the LoC over 1,300 times so far this year in which 52 civilians have been killed.

Two civilians were killed in truce breaches on Friday in Chirikot and Nezapir sectors.

Published in Dawn, November 19th, 2017

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