Pakistan yesterday arranged a meeting between Indian death row prisoner Kulbhushan Jadhav, and his mother and wife for about 40 minutes at the foreign office here but did not allow a private discussion between them.
In a meeting described as a “grand gesture” by the Pakistan government, Jadhav, who Islamabad claims is an Indian spy, came face to face with his 70-year-old mother Avanti and wife Chetankul after a gap of 22 months.
Separated by a glass partition in the heavily-guarded building, they spoke through an intercom watched by the Indian deputy high commissioner J P Singh who escorted them to the meeting.
The interaction started around 2.18pm with Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson Mohamed Faisal tweeting images showing Jadhav speaking to his mother and wife in a specially prepared room.
Singh was seen watching the reunion from a distance. Foreign Office director (India desk), Dr Fariha, was also present at the meeting, which was videographed.
Pakistani authorities have said the meeting was allowed “purely on humanitarian grounds”, but it did not allow a one-on-one meeting between Jadhav and his family.
Jadhav’s family was later taken to the Indian High Commission before their return to India. His mother thanked the Pakistan Foreign Office for allowing the meeting.
In an earlier tweet, Faisal shared a photo of Jadhav’s mother and wife sitting at the Foreign Office, with the comment: “The mother and wife of Commander Jadhav sit comfortably in the ministry of foreign affairs, Pakistan. We honour our commitments.”
After the meeting, the foreign office spokesperson called Jadhav “the face of Indian terror” and said it would decide on consular access to him at an appropriate time. It added that the meeting between Jadhav and his family was not the last. “This is not the last meeting. Let me say it categorically,” Faisal told reporters.
Jadhav’s case is pending before the International Court of Justice.
Faisal said the two women spoke “openly and had a productive meeting” with Jadhav. “It was a positive gesture, extended on humanitarian grounds. We extended the meeting by 10 minutes on the request of Jadhav’s family. It has nothing to do with legalities,” Faisal said. The spokesperson also “categorically” denied it was a consular access even as the Indian deputy high commissioner was present during the meeting.
“The Indian diplomat could see the meeting but was not allowed to meet. It would have been consular access had the Indian diplomat spoken to Jadhav,” he said, adding the Indian request for a possible consular access was with Pakistan and “would be taken up at an appropriate time”. Faisal added that Pakistan wanted Jadhav’s wife and mother to speak to the media, including the Indian media, at the Foreign Office in Islamabad. “This was done in the spirit that Pakistan has nothing to hide and like all of you seeks answers to many questions that remain unanswered. However, the Indian side requested that they wanted to avoid media interaction.”
Faisal reiterated that the meeting did not mean any change in Pakistan’s stance regarding Jadhav, who he termed “a spy and terrorist who has been sentenced to death”.
“Jadhav is the face of Indian terror in Pakistan. He has confessed to killing Aslam Chaudhary. He expressed remorse for taking Pakistani lives. He is a serving naval officer, has confessed to being a RAW (Research and Analysis Wing) agent,” he said.
Meanwhile, in a video message released by the Pakistan foreign ministry Jadhav thanked Islamabad for the “grand gesture”. “I requested a meeting with my wife and mother and I am thankful to government of Pakistan for this grand gesture,” he said.
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