Pakistan issues visas to Jadhav’s mother, wife

ISLAMABAD –  Pakistan Wednesday issued visas to the convicted Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav’s wife and mother to facilitate their meeting with the death-row inmate in Pakistan – most likely on December 25.

Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Mohammed Faisal took to Twitter to break the news. “Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi issued visas to the mother and wife of Commander Jadhav to visit Islamabad to meet him today,” he said.

An official at the foreign ministry said Jadhav’s mother and wife would be probably arriving this week for the meeting. “India will let us know about the schedule. We will arrange security for them,” he told The Nation.

The official said although the meeting was allowed by Pakistan on purely humanitarian grounds, the gesture will help initiate peace process with India. “These gestures do help the greater causes. Pakistan is always hopeful of resuming talks with India for peace in the region,” he added.

Jadhav was arrested last year in Balochistan province for spying and stoking terrorism and sectarianism in the country. Islamabad also handed over dossiers to the UN regarding Jadhav’s confessional statement.

Jadhav has filed a mercy petition to Army Chief 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.

Last week, Pakistan had rejected India’s plea for consular access to Jadhav at the International Court of Justice, 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’s 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.

India 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.

Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Home Minister Rajnath Singh contended that if Pakistan went ahead with the execution, it will amount to a “premeditated murder.”

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

After the Indian request was considered for a few weeks, Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Mohammed Faisal had announced this month that Pakistan would allow the mother and wife of Kulbushan Jadhav to meet him. He said Pakistan had informed India it was ready to allow the visit of the mother of Commander Jadhav, along with his wife on December 25.

“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.

Pak-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.

The tensions rose further in September 2016 as New Delhi blamed Pakistan for the Uri attack which inflicted heaviest toll on the Indian army in a single incident in 14 years. Nineteen soldiers were killed in the strike. Pakistan denied any link. Jadhav’s conviction 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.

International affairs expert Dr Pervez Iqbal Cheema said Jadhav was convicted after a proper procedure. He said the Indian government was making all attempts to get their spy released. “They are portraying him as a victim and seeking ICJ’s help,” he maintained.

 

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