Pak clarified that an Indian diplomat accompanying Kulbhushan Jadhav's family is not "consular access"
Islamabad / New Delhi:
Pakistan's Foreign Office clarified today that no "consular access" was being given to India, after New Delhi rubbished a claim made by Pakistan's Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif to a local news channel in his country that India has been granted "consular access" to Kulbhushan Jadhav.
Speaking to Pakistan's Geo News, Mr Asif had said that "Pakistan has granted India consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav by allowing the presence of an Indian diplomat during Mr Jadhav's meeting with his family."
Elaborating his statement, Mr Asif had said that an official of Indian High Commission would accompany Kulbhushan Jadhav's wife and mother during their visit to Pakistan today to meet Mr Jadhav. By allowing the High Commission official, Pakistan has granted India consular access to Mr Jadhav, the Pakistani minister claimed.
India rubbished the claim made by the Pakistani minister, maintaining that the Indian diplomat was only accompanying Mr Jadhav's family and it can, in no way, be construed as "consular access".
Mr Asif had claimed, that even though Indian Deputy High Commissioner JP Singh is accompanying Kulbhushan Jadhav's wife and mother for security reasons and because of the sensitive nature of the case, it could still be considered as a "consular access".
According to news agency ANI, Pakistan's Foreign Office later issued a statement in which its spokesperson Muhammad Faisal clarified that "The presence of an Indian diplomat during the scheduled meeting between Mr Jadhav and his family did not mean he was given Indian consular access."
Mr Jadhav would be meeting his family today at the foreign office in Islamabad. The exact time of Mr Jadhav's meeting with his family is not known, but officials said it would be sometime early afternoon. The duration of the meeting has also not been confirmed, but it may last for an hour, sources in Pakistan's Foreign Office said, according to news agency PTI.
Mr Jadhav's family traveled to Islamabad via the United Arab Emirates. Flight EK-612 from UAE, which took Mr Jadhav's family to Islamabad was delayed by about 40 minutes, according to officials.
Pakistan has announced that it will issue photos and video of the meeting. Officials however said that Mr Jadhav's family would not interact with the media.
Stringent security measures have been taken and additional police and paramilitary troops deployed around the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Islamabad.
Mr Jadhav, a former officer of the Navy, was sentenced to death by a military court in Pakistan in April. India has rubbished the charges Pakistan has made against him, saying he had been kidnapped from Iran, where he runs a business. Since the start, Pakistan has repeatedly refused to give India consular access to the former naval officer and sentenced him to death through what India describes as a "kangaroo court". A top United Nations court, or the International Court of Justice, had halted his execution in May this year on India's appeal.
Pakistan claims that its security forces arrested Mr Jadhav from Balochistan on March 3 last year after he allegedly "entered from Iran." India however, maintains that Mr Jadhav was kidnapped from Iran where he had business interests after retiring from the Indian Navy.(With inputs from PTI / Agencies)