ISLAMABAD – Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav, who was handed a death sentence by a military tribunal in Pakistan on charges of espionage and terrorism earlier this year, cannot be accessed by a consular, the Foreign Office said on Sunday.
A day earlier, as Pakistan and India exchanged lists of prisoners under the 2008 Agreement on Consular Access, with India reiterating its commitment “to addressing on priority all humanitarian matters with Pakistan”, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs renewed its demand for consular access to Jadhav.
India called on the Pakistani government 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 Foreign Office (FO), however, rejected New Delhi’s demand for consular access to Jadhav, stating the equating the case of the Indian spy to civilian prisoners was a “travesty of logic”.
Considering Jadhav an ordinary prisoner is an Indian attempt to deny facts, the FO said.
“Commander Jadhav is a serving Indian Naval officer and sent to Pakistan by its intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) for espionage, terrorism and subversive activities which resulted in loss of many innocent lives and damage to property.”
The FO added that five Indian nationals who had completed their sentences were repatriated on June 22, but 20 Pakistani civilian prisoners who had completed their sentences in India were still awaiting repatriation, whereas consular access to 107 Pakistani fishermen and 85 civilian Pakistani prisoners is also pending.
India has also petitioned the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for consular access to Jadhav, a RAW agent who was convicted and sentenced to death by a military tribunal on charges of espionage and terrorism. The ICJ has stayed Jadhav’s execution pending its final verdict in the case.
Progress on the release of prisoners has been impeded due to tense relations between the two countries, with the release of civilian prisoners and fishermen taking longer periods even after they have completed their sentences.
A joint judicial commission for addressing the issues of fishermen and other prisoners has been inactive since October 2013, when the Pakistani officials of the commission visited Indian jails.