Indian diplomats left without listening to Jadhav after being given consular access: FM Qureshi

Updated 17 Jul 2020

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Jadhav — a serving commander of the Indian Navy associated with Indian spy agency Research and Analysis Wing — was arrested on March 3, 2016, from Balochistan on allegations of espionage and terrorism. — INP/File
Jadhav — a serving commander of the Indian Navy associated with Indian spy agency Research and Analysis Wing — was arrested on March 3, 2016, from Balochistan on allegations of espionage and terrorism. — INP/File

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said on Thursday that two officials from the Indian High commission in Islamabad — that had been provided consular access earlier today for a second time to Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav at Delhi's request — left without hearing him out.

In a statement, the foreign minister said that consular access was given according to the terms agreed upon. "India's ill intentions have come to light. They didn't want consular access. [Jhadav] kept asking the Indian diplomats to talk to him and they left."

Jadhav — a serving commander of the Indian Navy associated with Indian spy agency Research and Analysis Wing — was arrested on March 3, 2016, from Balochistan on allegations of espionage and terrorism.

Timeline: How the Kulbhushan Jadhav saga unfolded

Calling the behaviour of the officials "astonishing", the Qureshi questioned that if Indian diplomats didn't want to talk to Jadhav, why did they ask for consular access.

"They had objected to the glass that had been placed in the middle so we removed it. They had also objected to audio and video recordings so that was also not done. We fulfilled all their requests, but still they left." he said.

Earlier today, Pakistan provided consular access for a second time to the Indian spy at Delhi's request while Foreign Office (FO) spokesperson Aisha Farooqui reiterated the country's offer to file an appeal in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) against his conviction and subsequent death sentence by a military court.

In a statement, the FO spokesperson said that two consular officers of the Indian High Commission in Islamabad were provided "unimpeded and uninterrupted access to Jadhav at 1500 hours".

"First consular access under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (VCCR) 1963 was earlier provided by Pakistan on September 2, 2019. The mother and wife of Commander Jadhav were also allowed to meet him on December 25, 2017.

"Commander Jadhav is in Pakistan’s custody following his arrest from Balochistan in a counter-intelligence operation on March 3, 2016. During investigation, Commander Jadhav confessed to his involvement in terrorist activities inside Pakistan that resulted in [the] loss of many precious human lives. He also made important revelations about RAW’s role in sponsoring state terrorism in Pakistan."

The statement added that Pakistan remained committed to fully implementing the International Court of Justice's (ICJ) judgement of July 17, 2019. "It is hoped that India will cooperate with the Pakistan court in giving full effect to the said judgement."

Earlier today, Farooqui had reiterated Pakistan's offer to file an appeal in the IHC against Jadhav's conviction at her weekly press briefing. "The time limit for filing a review petition is 60 days [set to expire on July 19]. We hope that India will cooperate in this regard."

In a statement released shortly after, Qureshi said that Jadhav had "confessed to terrorism with his own mouth".

We accepted the decision of the ICJ, [but] India's attitude has always been negative in this regard and they have not shown cooperation, he said. "However, our thinking is positive and we have presented all the facts to the world. We are proceeding forward within the parameters of the law."

He added that the current Indian government had an extreme mindset which did not care for human rights or the law. "China has tried to improve relations between the two countries, but even China was not spared."

They also targeted Bangladesh and their attitude with Sri Lanka is in front of the world, the foreign minister said. "India is facing setbacks at a global level. If the current Hindutva mindset prevails, then we cannot expect any improvement."

'Jhadav refused to file review petition despite offer'

On July 8, officials had said that Jadhav refused to file an appeal in the high court against his conviction and subsequent death sentence by a military court despite authorities' offer to do so. Instead, Jadhav had decided to apply for a mercy petition, they had said.

In a press conference in Islamabad, Additional Attorney General Ahmed Irfan and Director General (South Asia & SAARC) Zahid Hafeez Chaudhry had said that an ordinance was promulgated by the government on May 20, which allowed the Indian government, Jadhav and his legal representative to file a review petition in IHC within 60 days, which will expire on July 19.

They had said Indian authorities had requested to appoint an Indian lawyer to advocate for Jadhav but if an appeal is filed in the IHC, only a lawyer who holds a licence of the respective court would be able to represent the spy. Therefore, an Indian lawyer cannot advocate for the convicted spy but they may be allowed to assist Jadhav's counsel.

ICJ verdict

In his trial at a military court after his arrest, Jadhav had confessed to his involvement in terrorist plots.

The spy was subsequently sentenced to death in 2017. However, India insisted that Jadhav was not a spy and said he was kidnapped from Iran.

On April 10, 2017, Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa had endorsed the death penalty for Jadhav. In June 2017, the Indian spy had filed a mercy petition against the death penalty, in which he again confessed to his involvement in terrorist activities.

However, before Pakistani authorities could make a final decision, the ICJ, after being approached by India, had ordered a stay in his execution through an interim order in 2019.

Later that year, ICJ announced its verdict on the Kulbhushan Jadhav case, ruling that Jadhav be allowed consular access immediately and asking Pakistan to ensure “effective review and reconsideration of his conviction and sentences”.

The ICJ, however, rejected all other remedies sought by India, which included the annulment of the military court decision convicting Jadhav, restricting Pakistan from executing the sentence, securing Jadhav's release and ordering his return to India.

The ICJ said that even though it had found Pakistan in violation of Article 36 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (VCCR), "it is not the conviction and sentence of Mr Jadhav which are to be regarded as a violation of Article 36 of the Vienna Convention."

The most the ICJ said it could do was to order Pakistan to cease violation of Article 36 and review the case in light of how that violation may have affected the case's outcome.

"The Court notes that Pakistan acknowledges that the appropriate remedy in the present case would be effective review and reconsideration of the conviction and sentence," it observed.

To this end, Pakistan was directed to immediately inform Jadhav of his rights under Article 36, grant India consular access, and then review the case while considering, under the laws of Pakistan, how not doing so earlier may have impacted the case's outcome.