New Delhi: As India accepted Pakistan's offer for consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav, his friends hoped for his safe return to India.
Jadhav is facing a death row in Pakistan on alleged spying charges.
"We are very positive about Kulbhushan ji soon getting released. It's a welcome move by Pakistan to give consular access. The only thing is that it should be unconditional. We have very high hope that soon he will be released," Arvind Singh, a friend of Kulbhushan, told ANI.
Another friend, named Tulsidas Pawar said, "If the Government of India will continue to take up this matter strictly with Pakistan, then Kulbhushan Jadhav will return home soon. Blessings of his parents and friends are with him. We are waiting for him to return."
However, Vandana Pawar another friend said that she is sceptical about the kind of behaviour being meted out to Jadhav and hoped that "he is not being tortured by Pakistan."
As India's Charge d'affaires Gaurav Ahluwalia will be meeting Jadhav, India is hoping that Pakistan will ensure the right atmosphere for a free and fair meeting in keeping with the letter and spirit of the International Court of Justice's (ICJ) orders, government sources said.
"India has been seeking consular access to Kulbushan Jadhav for the last three years. The matter of denial of consular access was taken to ICJ by India. The court gave a unanimous decision in favour of India. Today, after victory in the ICJ, India will be proceeding for consular access to Jadhav," they said.
Pakistan on had Sunday announced it will grant consular access to the retired Indian Navy officer, who was sentenced to death by a Pakistan military court on the basis of extracted confession of "espionage and terrorism" after a closed trial in April 2017.
The access will be provided in line with the verdict of the ICJ delivered on July 17.
In a major diplomatic victory for India, the ICJ, in July, had asked Pakistan to comply with the Vienna Conventions and provide consular access to Jadhav and to ensure "effective review and reconsideration of his conviction and sentences".
Pakistani security forces claim Jadhav was arrested from Balochistan, even as he was kidnapped from Iran, where he owned a cargo business.
Jadhav was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on April 11, 2017.
India, on May 8, 2017, approached the ICJ against Pakistan "for egregious violations of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, 1963" in the matter.
The Indian national was even denied the right to be defended by a legal counsel of his choice.
India contended that it was not informed of Jadhav's detention until long after his arrest and that Pakistan had failed to inform the former naval officer of his rights....