Jadhav’s consular access decision to be made on merit: Zakaria

Islamabad : Pakistan has said that the decision to provide consular access to alleged Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav would be taken on merit.

Pakistan’s Foreign Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Nafees Zakaria made these remarks while speaking at a weekly media briefing on Thursday.

“We already have evidence in the Jadhav case. Kulbhushan is a spy and was involved in terrorist activities,” Geo News quoted Zakaria, as saying.

Asserting that Jadhav was prosecuted as per the law, Zakaria said that the former’s statements helped in intercepting a terrorist network in the country.

Earlier on Wednesday, Pakistan again denied India consular access to Jadhav, who was awarded a death sentence by Islamabad military court for alleged espionage activities.

This is the 16th time that India has demanded consular access.

Pakistan Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua categorically expressed her views to Indian High Commissioner Gautam Bambawale, during a meeting in Islamabad, Radio Pakistan reported.

During the meeting, Bambawale also handed over a petition by Jadhav’s mother to the Pakistan Government for his release and expressed a desire to meet him.

“Pakistan was also requested to facilitate visas for Jadhav’s mother and father. They wish to travel to Pakistan to meet him and also to personally file the petition and appeal. They have applied for necessary visas with the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi,” India’s External Affairs Ministry release stated.

This comes days after India’s Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar met Pakistani High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit and made similar demands.

The Pakistan Army had earlier ruled out consular access to Jadhav, saying he was not eligible for it as per the laws.

“Kulbhushan is not eligible for consular access nor will be granted consular access,” said Pakistan Armed Forces spokesperson Major General Asif Ghafoor.

He alleged that Jadhav, caught on anti-state activities, was trialed under court martial.

“This was purely an act by the Army to which the Army as an institution said we will not compromise on his sentence,” he said.

Major General Ghafoor said Jadhav’s death sentence process would move ahead as per the law, adding it would go in the applet court and the army should wait for the verdict.

Jadhav was arrested in March last year in the restive Balochistan province and accused of being a Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) agent. (ANI)