Jadhav meets wife, mother through glass panel

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 26 Dec 2017 08:31:14



The wife and mother did not talk to reporters

An Indian diplomat saw the meeting but was not allowed to meet Jadhav

It would have been consular access had the Indian diplomat spoken to Jadhav

KULBHUSHAN Jadhav, on death row in Pakistan for alleged spying, on Monday met his wife and mother for about 40 minutes - through a glass panel - without allowing a private discussion between them.

The meeting, which took place after many representations, was held at the heavily guarded Foreign Affairs Ministry building, and came after the Hague-based International Court of Justice (ICJ) asked Pakistan in May to stay 47-year-old Jadhav’s execution.

TV footage showed Jadhav’s mother Avanti and wife Chetankul entering the ministry building’s Agha Shahi Block, accompanied by India’s Deputy High Commissioner J P Singh and a Pakistani woman official. After they went in, the door shut behind them. Pakistan Foreign Office later released pictures of Jadhav talking to his wife and mother from behind a glass screen. The communication between them was through a intercom device.

The meeting started at around 1.35 pm local time (2.05 pm IST) and lasted about 40 minutes, after which Jadhav’s wife and mother were driven away in a white SUV.

According to the TV news channel India Today, signs of injuries near Jadhav’s right ear were noticed in the photograph, arousing suspicions that he was tortured.The two women had arrived in Islamabad earlier on Monday via Dubai on a commercial flight, and spent about 30 minutes at the Indian High Commission before being driven to the Foreign Ministry. Jadhav’s family had a brief stop at the mission again before they headed to the airport to catch a flight to India via Dubai. Before the meeting, the security check of the family was conducted. All the information about the meeting emerged through Pakistani Foreign Ministry tweets and images.

“The mother and wife of Commander Jadhav sitting comfortably in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Pakistan. We honour our commitments,” spokesman Faisal earlier tweeted along with a picture of the visitors. From Pakistan’s side, Foreign Office Director for India, Dr Fareha Bugti, was present at the meeting. The wife and mother greeted media persons with a namaste after arriving at the ministry but did not respond to their questions.

They also did not talk to the reporters while leaving the building, although journalists kept shouting questions. Jadhav was at the ministry before his family arrived. It was not known where he had been kept before being transported to the Foreign Ministry. TV footage showed a convoy of around seven vehicles escorting Jadhav’s family in the city.

Police and paramilitary security forces, including sharpshooters, were deployed at the ministry to deal with any untoward security situation, officials said. The Foreign Office also issued a new video message of Jadhav in which he is seen thanking the Pakistan Government for arranging a meeting with his wife and mother.

“Pakistan permits the meeting of wife and mother of Commander Jadhav with him, as a humanitarian gesture, on the birthday of the Father of the nation, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Faisal tweeted. The tweet made it a point to identify Jadhav, a former Indian Navy officer, with his military title. Pakistan claims its security forces arrested Jadhav from its restive Balochistan province after he reportedly entered from Iran. It claims that he was in possession of an Indian passport that identified him as Hussein Mubarak Patel.

India, however, maintains that Jadhav was kidnapped from Iran where he had business interests after retiring from the Indian Navy. Faisal also tweeted that the meeting was arranged in light of “Islamic traditions and based on purely humanitarian grounds.”

After the meeting, the Foreign Office spokesperson Faisal 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 after former Indian Navy officer Jadhav’s wife and mother met him. 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 also said that Pakistan wanted the wife and mother of Jadhav 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.”