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India to evaluate Pakistan's offer of consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav

By Anuj Cariappa

Islamabad, Aug 01: Ten days after the International Court of Justice (ICJ) order, Pakistan on Thursday offered consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav was arrested in March 2016 by Pakistani authorities on "espionage and terrorism" charges.

"We are evaluating it in the light of the judgement of the ICJ, we will maintain communication with Pakistan in this matter through diplomatic channels," Kumar said at a weekly briefing here. "This is not the appropriate forum to discuss modalities," Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar confirmed that Delhi had received such a proposal.

Pakistan offers consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav tomorrow

What does consular access process include

Some of the key issues that are under discussion include, how many Indian officials would conduct the interview of Jadhav. It is also being discussed if Pakistan officials would be present during the process. The other issue under discussion is whether there would be a glass partition when the interviews are being conducted.

Article 36 of the Vienna Convention says that consular officers shall be free to communicate with nationals of the sending state and to have access to them. Nationals of the sending state (India in this case) shall have the same freedom to communication with access to consular officers of the sending state, paragraph one of the article also states.

India bargains hard on terms of consular access for Kulbhushan JadhavIndia bargains hard on terms of consular access for Kulbhushan Jadhav

In a major victory for India, the ICJ had ruled that Pakistan must review the death sentence awarded to Jadhav.

Jadhav, 49, a retired Indian Navy officer, was sentenced to death by the Pakistani military court on charges of "espionage and terrorism" after a closed trial in April 2017.

A bench led by President of the court Judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf ordered an "effective review and reconsideration of the conviction and sentence of Mr Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav"

The bench also ruled that Pakistan had violated India's rights to consular visits after Jadhav's arrest.

According to the ICJ, Pakistan "deprived the Republic of India of the right to communicate with and have access to Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav, to visit him in detention and to arrange for his legal representation".

The Pakistan foreign ministry had stated that "modalities are being worked out" to grant him consular access.

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