Indian Diplomacy

Pakistan Allows Kulbhushan Jadhav to Meet Wife, Mother on December 25

While New Delhi had specifically asked for an Indian diplomat to be present at the meeting with Jadhav, it is not clear if Pakistan has agreed to this yet.

The ICJ has stayed Pakistan's death sentence on Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav. Credit: Video screengrab/Reuters

Kulbhushan Jadhav is at the heart of a dispute between India and Pakistan. Credit: Video screengrab/Reuters

New Delhi: Pakistan will allow Kulbhushan Jadhav’s wife and mother to travel and meet him later this month, accompanied by an Indian diplomat, according to external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj.

The official announcement was made by Swaraj on Friday, who also stated that she had conveyed Pakistan’s decision to the mother, Avantika Jadhav. The details of the visit, however, are still being worked out.

Jadhav is at the heart of a dispute between India and Pakistan, which is now being played out at the International Court of Justice.

Pakistan announced that Jadhav was in its custody in March 2016. And in April this year, a Pakistani military court swiftly tried and sentenced him to death for espionage and terrorism. India subsequently filed a case against Pakistan in the ICJ for violating the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations by not responding to 13 Indian requests for consular access to Jadhav. India had also made a bilateral request for the mother to travel to Pakistan.

The court gave interim directions to Pakistan to stay the execution, pending its final judgment.

On November 10, Pakistan offered to allow Jadhav’s wife to meet him. India replied back with four provisos – that Jadhav’s mother should also meet him, that an Indian diplomat should accompany them including during the meeting, that Pakistan should give a sovereign guarantee of their security and safety, and that the wife and mother should not be harassed or interrogated during their visit.

After two weeks, Pakistan accepted most of India’s requests, giving the date of the meeting as December 25.

“Earlier today, we received the response from the Pakistani government to the request made by India on November 13, 2017 to allow both [the] mother and wife of Mr. Jadhav to meet him. We are happy to note that Pakistan has also agreed to our request for the mother to meet Mr. Jadhav that has been pending since April 2017. The Pakistan government has also assured [us] that it would ensure [the] safety, security and well-being of the wife and the mother during their stay in Pakistan and allow a diplomat to accompany them,” said MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar.

He added that “further modalities of the meeting” will be worked out in consultation with Jadhav’s wife and mother.

When asked whether the presence of the Indian diplomat would be construed as consular access, Kumar did not give a direct response.

“We have sought consular access. I can only share that in their reply, Pakistan has given permission for the spouse and mother to go and meet Jadhav. An Indian diplomat will accompany them and will be there during this. Then we will see how it goes. It is too early to predict the nature of the meeting, the nature of access that is facilitated by the Pakistani government,” he said.

While India had specifically asked for the Indian diplomat to be present at the meeting with Jadhav, it is not clear that Pakistan has accepted this point – with the statement indicating that negotiations are still going on.