Islamabad: Pakistan on Friday offered India a meeting between Indian national Kulbushan Jadhav – convicted in Pakistan on terror charges – and his wife on ‘humanitarian grounds.’
A foreign ministry statement said the Pakistan has decided to arrange a meeting of Commander Kulbhushan Jadhav with his wife, in Pakistan “purely on humanitarian grounds.”
“A Note Verbale to this effect has been sent to the Indian High Commission in Islamabad,” added the statement.
The statement said: “Commander Kulbushan Jadhav alias, Hussain Mubarak Patel, a serving Commander of the Indian Navy, working with Indian Intelligence Agency RAW (Research and Anaysis Wing) and was apprehended by Pakistan law enforcement agencies on March 3, 2016 after he illegally crossed over into Pakistan. He confessed before a Magistrate and the Court that he was tasked by RAW to plan, coordinate and organise espionage, terrorist and sabotage activities aimed at destabilising and waging war against Pakistan.”
Pakistan has been refusing consular access to Jadhav and has also conveyed its decision to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which is hearing the case.
In a letter to the ICJ, Pakistan invited the United Nations court’s attention towards Jadhav’s "role in terrorism acts across Pakistan" that allegedly resulted in scores of deaths in the past.
New Delhi had twice sought consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav – sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court for fomenting terrorism in Pakistan. Both the times, Pakistan rejected the requests. India later challenged Jadhav’s conviction in the ICJ.
Pakistan has also challenged the jurisdiction of ICJ regarding conviction of Jadhav after the UN court observed that turning down the request for consular access was a denial of right.
Pakistan, last month, 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.
Justice Jillani served as a Judge of the Supreme Court of Pakistan from July 31, 2004 to December 11, 2013 and subsequently as the Chief Justice of Pakistan from December 11, 2013 until July 5, 2014.
The procedures of the ICJ allow a party to nominate a Judge Ad-hoc in circumstances where there is no Judge of the Court that has 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 Qamar Javed Bajwa, to spare his life on 'compassionate grounds'. Jadhav can still file another appeal to President Mamnoon Hussain if the army chief rejects his plea.
Pak-India tension has been running high since July 2016 after the killing of freedom fighter Burhan Wani. In September 2016, the 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. The strike killed 19 soldiers. Pakistan denied any link. Conviction of Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav added to the tension.
Since partition in 1947, Pakistan and India have been involved in four wars – including one undeclared – and many border skirmishes and military stand-offs. Kashmir has been the main source of tension.