India

Kulbhushan Jadhav: Pakistan to allow consular access to 'Indian spy'

In this photograph taken on March 29, 2016, Pakistani journalists watch a video showing Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav, arrested on suspicion of spying, during a press conference in Islamabad Image copyright AFP
Image caption Pakistan says Jadhav was arrested in the province of Balochistan in March last year

Pakistan has said it will follow a UN court's order to allow consular access to an Indian navy officer convicted of spying.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled on Wednesday that Islamabad had violated international law by denying access to Kulbhushan Jadhav.

Islamabad said the access would be "granted according to Pakistani laws".

Jadhav was arrested in Pakistan in March 2016 and sentenced to death by a military court a year later.

The Hague-based ICJ ruled that Pakistan had failed to inform Mr Jadhav of his rights, and deprived the Indian government "of the right to communicate with and have access to [him], to visit him in detention and to arrange for his legal representation".

Islamabad has said that Mr Jadhav has been informed of "his rights under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations".

"As a responsible state, Pakistan will grant consular access to Commander Kulbushan Jadhav according to Pakistani laws, for which modalities are being worked out," Pakistan's foreign office said.

The ICJ has also asked Pakistan to review Mr Jadhav's death penalty.

"A continued stay of execution constitutes an indispensible condition for the effective review and reconsideration of the conviction and sentence," the court said.

Pakistan is yet to comment on the review.

The ruling has been seen as a victory in both countries.

India said the ruling showed that Pakistan was in violation of international law, while Islamabad stressed that it had won because the ICJ didn't order the release of Mr Jadhav.

The verdict was a culmination of a lengthy legal battle fought between the neighbouring countries at the ICJ.

What are the allegations?

The case of Kulbhushan Jadhav has been a thorny issue since his arrest three years ago.

Pakistan said it had detained him in the restive province of Balochistan, home to a separatist insurgency that it accuses India of backing. India said he was kidnapped in Iran, which borders the province, where he was doing business.

Image copyright Pakistan foreign ministry
Image caption Kulbushan Jadhav's mother and wife were allowed to meet him in December 2017

Shortly after his arrest, the Pakistani authorities released a video in which he was shown admitting involvement in spying.

India has always questioned the alleged confession, saying that it was extracted under duress.

In April 2017, he was convicted of espionage and terrorism and sentenced to death. India then filed a case with the ICJ.

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India said that Pakistan had violated the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations by denying access to Mr Jadhav. Pakistan argued that he was not entitled to consular access because he is a spy who entered the country to create "unrest and instability".

The ICJ was set up in 1945 to rule on disputes between nations.

The last time India and Pakistan took a dispute to the court was in 1999 when Islamabad protested against India's downing of a Pakistani navy plane.

The court decided that it had no jurisdiction to rule in the dispute and closed the case.

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