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Pakistan says India should avail its offer for consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav

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Islamabad, Jan 28: Pakistan said on Thursday that India should avail its offer for consular access to death-row prisoner Kulbhushan Jadhav and "cooperate" to implement the judgment of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) about effective review of his case.

Kulbhushan Jadhav

Fifty-year-old retired Indian Navy officer Jadhav was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of espionage and terrorism in April 2017. Weeks later, India approached the ICJ against Pakistan for denial of consular access to Jadhav and challenging the death sentence handed to him.

The Hague-based ICJ ruled in July 2019 that Pakistan must undertake an "effective review and reconsideration" of the conviction and sentence of Jadhav and also to grant consular access to India without further delay.

"We call upon India to come forward, avail the third consular access and let the case in Islamabad High court proceed further," Foreign Office Spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri said at his weekly news briefing in Islamabad on Thursday.

He said Pakistan has already provided consular access to India twice.

"Our position is consistent that the Indian Government should come forward and cooperate with the courts in Pakistan so that full effect could be given to the ICJ Judgment," he added.

India has slammed Pakistan for adopting a "farcical" approach in denying available legal remedies to Jadhav against his death sentence in contravention of the ICJ order.

Pakistan has repeatedly rejected India''s demand that an Indian lawyer or a Queen''s counsel should be appointed for Jadhav to ensure a free and fair trial in the review of his death sentence in this country.

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In New Delhi, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said that Pakistan has failed to create an environment under which the allegations against him can be "seriously and effectively challenged".

"They need to implement the ICJ judgement in its letter and spirit and this include provision of all relevant documents to the case as well as providing unconditional, unhindered and unimpeded consular access to Jadhav," he said on Thursday.

India has been pressing for appointment of an Indian lawyer to represent Jadhav in the case besides seeking unhindered consular access to him as ordered by the ICJ.

Queen''s Counsel is a barrister or advocate, appointed Counsel to the UK Crown on the recommendation of the Lord Chancellor.

In September, Pakistan''s Parliament extended for four months an ordinance that allowed Jadhav to file an appeal against his conviction in a high court as required by the ICJ.

Meanwhile, Chaudhri in response to a question also commented on the recent protests by farmers in New Delhi, saying the Indian government "finds it convenient to blame India's neighbours for all its internal failings."

India has called the remarks by foreign leaders and politicians on protests by farmers as "ill-informed" and "unwarranted", asserting that the matter pertains to the internal affairs of a democratic country.

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