NEW DELHI – India on Saturday again asked Pakistan to grant full and early consular access to its national Kulbhushan Jadhav, sentenced to death by the Pakistani military court, as the two countries exchanged lists of prisoners lodged in each other’s jails, The Hindu reported here on Saturday.
According to the list Pakistan shared with India, at least 546 Indian nationals, including nearly 500 fishermen, are languishing in jails in that country.
“India again requested Pakistan to grant full and early consular access to the Indian nationals lodged in the custody of Pakistan, including Hamid Nehal Ansari and Kulbhushan Jadhav,” the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a statement in Delhi.
Jadhav was in April sentenced to death on charges of espionage and sabotage activities. India had moved the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against the death penalty and the ICJ, on May 18, restrained Pakistan from executing him.
In its list, the Pakistan foreign office said the Indian prisoners included “52 civilians and 494 fishermen.”
The lists of prisoners were exchanged as per provisions of the bilateral agreement on consular access that was signed on May 21, 2008. As per the pact, lists of prisoners have to be exchanged twice each year, on January 1 and July 1.
“India once again requests Pakistan for the early release and repatriation of Indian prisoners, missing Indian defence personnel and fishermen along with their boats whose nationality has been confirmed by India,” the MEA said. It said India remains committed to addressing on priority all humanitarian matters with Pakistan, including those pertaining to prisoners and fishermen.
Meanwhile, Pakistan Foreign Office Spokesman Nafees Zakria on Saturday said India was involved in spreading terrorism in Pakistan and India’s oppressive activities in India-occupied Kashmir (IOK) had been exposed to the world.
The spokesperson, while speaking to PTV, said India was involved in terror financing and terror activities in Pakistan and the arrest of Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav was proof of Indian activities.
“Indian subversive designs against Pakistan have been exposed after the trial of Kulbhushan Jadhav and the confessional statement of Ehsanullah Ehsan.”
The FO spokesperson added that India had been using Afghan territory against Pakistan for promoting terrorism and added that Pakistan has informed the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) and the international community regarding Indian atrocities in IOK.
“The Kashmiri people are struggling for their basic right to self-determination,” he said.