Jadhav family to get visa-stamped passports soon

ISLAMABAD –  Convicted Indian spy Kulbushan Jadhav’s mother and wife will get their passports stamped with Pakistani visas within a “couple of days” to facilitate their meeting with the death-row inmate, diplomatic sources said.

Senior officials at the foreign ministry told The Nation that Jadhav’s family members were likely to receive their passports early this week.

One official said: “Since their [Jadhav and family] meeting is expected on December 25, the passports will be returned as soon as possible. They should get it before Wednesday [December 20] if not on Monday [December 18]. The visas have already been approved.”

Another official said the Indian counterparts had been conveyed that the family should be prepared to travel as the visas had been cleared by Pakistan.

“We have been told they are ready to travel [to] Pakistan [as] soon as they get their passports. We have also made adequate arrangements for their security,” he added.

In a tweet message over the weekend, Foreign Office spokesperson Dr Mohammed Faisal had said that applications were being processed.

He said Yadhav’s mother and wife had submitted visa applications “on humanitarian grounds.”

Last week, Pakistan rejected India’s plea for consular access to Jadhav at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) saying the facility could not be granted to a spy who had been convicted of terrorism.

In its counter-memorial submitted to the ICJ, Pakistan said the consular access under the Vienna Convention was not for terrorists but legal visitors.

Pakistan contended that Jadhav should not be considered an ordinary prisoner as he had confessed to his role in terrorism.

Yadhav was arrested last year in the Balochistan province for spying and stoking terrorism and sectarianism in Pakistan.

Islamabad also handed over dossiers to the UN regarding Jadhav’s confessional statement.

India has challenged Jadhav’s conviction in the ICJ but Pakistan disputed the jurisdiction after the court observed that turning down the request for consular access was a denial of right.

In May, the UN’s top court ordered Pakistan to stay the Jadhav’s execution.

Pakistan has communicated to the ICJ its designation of Tassaduq Hussain Jillani, a former chief justice of Pakistan, to be its judge ad-hoc in the Jadhav case.

The procedures of the ICJ allow a party to nominate a judge ad-hoc in circumstances where there is no judge of the court with that party’s nationality.

Currently, there is no judge of the court that has Pakistani nationality, whereas Judge Dalveer Bhandari from India sits as a judge of the court.

Those appointed as judge ad-hoc are treated as having the same authority on the court as any of the sitting judges.

Jadhav has filed a mercy petition to army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, to spare his life on “compassionate grounds”.

He can still file another appeal to President Mamnoon Hussain, if the army chief rejects his plea.

This month, Pakistan allowed the mother and wife of Kulbushan Jadhav to meet him.

The FO spokesperson, Dr Mohammed Faisal, said Pakistan had informed India it was ready to allow the visit of the mother of Commander Jadhav, along with his wife on December 25th.

 “A diplomat from the Indian High Commission in Islamabad will be allowed to accompany the visitors. Requisite security would be provided to the visitors,” he said.

Pakistan had earlier only allowed Jadhav’s wife to meet him but India sought permission for his mother too.

Pakistan-India tension has been running high since July 2016 after the killing of freedom fighter Burhan Wani.

The Indian forces later killed dozens of protesters who condemned the murder.

In September 2016, tensions rose further as New Delhi blamed Pakistan for the Uri attack, which inflicted the heaviest toll on the Indian army in a single incident in 14 years.

Nineteen soldiers were killed in the strike.

Pakistan denied any link.

Conviction of Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav has added to the tension.

Since partition in 1947, Pakistan and India have been involved in four wars – including one undeclared war – and many border skirmishes and military stand-offs.

Kashmir has been the main source of tension.

Former ambassador Fauzia Nasreen said Pakistan’s positive gesture to allow Jadhav’s family should be responded positively by India.

“While we are ready for talks and are working for peace, India is sponsoring terrorism. And on addition, they are accusing, Pakistan is backing terrorists,” she said.

Nasreen said the RAW had links with Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan and other terror networks.

“Jadhav is only one example. There are so many Indian networkers operative in Pakistan,” she maintained.

Former interior minister Senator Rehman Malik said that after the Indian agent Kulbushan Yadav’s confessional statement about Research and Analysis Wing’s involvement in terrorism inside Balochistan, Indian involvement behind Sunday’s attack on Church in Quetta could not be ruled out.

Malik said he did not oppose Jadhav’s family visit to Pakistan but it was the duty of government to expose “those notorious elements” that were behind terrorism in Balochistan.

“The fresh wave of terrorism and an increase in the incidents of terrorism inside Balochistan should be of great concerns for the government and every citizen of Pakistan,” he added.

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