ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has asserted that a decision on India's request for consular access to its national Kulbhushan Jadhav, who has been sentenced to death by a military court, would be taken on "the basis of merit".
Pakistan Foreign Office Spokesperson Nafees Zakaria said Pakistan and India have a bilateral agreement on consular access but all cases have to be decided on merit. "In all such cases...the request of this nature would be decided on the basis of merit," he said at a media briefing yesterday.
Zakaria said India had summoned Pakistan's Deputy High Commissioner over consular access to Jadhav but this was not something new. It was a reaction to the death sentence awarded to Jadhav, he said. Indian High Commissioner Gautam Bambawale after meeting Pakistan Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua earlier this week had said that he had asked for consular access to Jadhav for the 14th time.
In response, Pakistan had said in a statement that India, in several cases, had denied consular access to Pakistani prisoners for years. Separately, army spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor had ruled out consular access to Jadhav.
"Under the law we cannot give consular access to Khubhushan who was involved in spying," Ghafoor had told reporters.