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Kulbhushan Jadhav's wife-mother arrived in Islamabad

25 December, 2017

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Kulbhushan Jadhav's wife and mother arrived in Islamabad on Monday for a meeting with the convicted Indian spy at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA). Jadhav's mother, Avanti, and wife, Chetankul, arrived in the capital via a commercial flight and are expected to catch a flight back to India this evening after the meeting takes place.

They are accompanied by Indian Deputy High Commissioner JP Singh and three Indian foreign ministry officials, according to Indian media reports. In addition to the Indian envoy, a couple of FO officials will also be present during the meeting, which is expected to last around 30 minutes.

Although Pakistan had issued visas to Jadhav's wife and mother on "humanitarian grounds" earlier this month, it has denied India consular access to the spy despite repeated requests on the grounds that it is non-applicable under the Vienna Convention due to his involvement in espionage, FO Spokesperson Dr Faisal told reporters.

"The presence of JP Singh in today’s meeting should not be considered as consular access," Dr Faisal said.

Indian media, however, reported that the meeting between Jadhav and his family members constitutes as "consular access" after Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif on a Geo News talk show had said that the meeting is a "concession".

Times of India cited Asif saying that the reason the meeting is taking place is because Pakistan didn't want India to create the impression that Jadhav was denied access to his family, especially since the spy's case is currently being heard at the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

ToI quoted Asif as saying: "We didn't want any weakness in our case in the ICJ over the meeting... We have allowed access to Jadhav's family purely on a humanitarian basis. However, if we were in the same place, India wouldn't have been so kind to us."

Officials said all arrangements are in place for the meeting between Jadhav and his wife and mother, and sharpshooters were deployed at the sprawling FO building ahead of the meeting.

Last week, the FO Spokesperson Dr Muhammad Faisal had said that if the Indian Ministry of External Affairs agreed, Jadhav's wife and mother may be allowed to address the media in Pakistan.

Jadhav, a former Indian Navy officer, was arrested in Pakistan on espionage charges.

He was captured by security forces on March 3, 2016, in Balochistan and sentenced to death by a military tribunal earlier this year for his involvement in terrorism and espionage.

His appeals against the conviction have been rejected by the military appellate court and his mercy petition has been lying with Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa.

India has challenged Pakistan’s refusal to grant consular access to the spy in the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

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