Pakistan has finally agreed to grant consular access to jailed Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav following the crucial verdict at the International Court of Justice. In a late-night statement released by Pakistan’s foreign ministry, Islamabad officials said that, "Pursuant to the decision of the ICJ, Commander Kulbushan Jadhav has been informed of his rights under Article 36, Paragraph 1(b) of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations." The statement further added the operative part that India has been demanding since the time Jadhav was arrested. "As a responsible state, Pakistan will grant consular access to Commander Kulbushan Jadhav according to Pakistani laws, for which modalities are being worked out," it said.
The retired Indian Navy officer was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of "espionage and terrorism" in April 2017. After huge uproar, India had moved the International Court of Justice, seeking a stay on his death sentence and further remedies. A 16-member bench headed by President of the Court, Judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf, by 15-1 votes ordered Pakistan on Wednesday to undertake an "effective review and reconsideration" of the conviction and sentence of Jadhav and also to grant consular access to India without further delay.
However, despite massive embarrassment at the International Court of Justice in connection with the Kulbhushan Jadhav case, Pakistan remains adamant in its approach. It was evident form the tweet of Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, who said that Kulbhushan Jadhav was guilty of crimes against people of Pakistan. He also highlighted the ‘fact’ that the ICJ had not ‘acquitted’ Jadhav. “Appreciate ICJ’s decision not to acquit, release & return Commander Kulbhushan Jadhav to India. He is guilty of crimes against the people of Pakistan. Pakistan shall proceed further as per law,” Khan said on micro-blogging site. Khan’s tweet mirrors the statement made by Pakistan’s foreign ministry shortly after the verdict, which directed Pakistan to grant consular access to KJadhav. The verdict had also asked Islamabad to reconsider the death penalty.
Making a statement in both houses of Parliament on the ICJ judgement, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said, "Pakistan was found to have deprived India of the right to communicate with Jadhav, have access to him, visit him in detention and arrange his legal representation"."Kulbhushan Jadhav is innocent of the charges made against him. His forced confession without legal representation and due process will not change this reality," he said. "We once again call upon Pakistan to release and repatriate him forthwith," the minister said.
(With agency inputs)