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Kulbhushan Jadhav meets mother, wife for 40 minutes at Pakistan Foreign Affairs Ministry

Pakistan said it would issue photos and a video of the meeting, which reportedly lasted for 30 minutes.

Published: 25th December 2017 12:29 PM  |   Last Updated: 26th December 2017 08:06 AM   |  A+A-

Kulbhushan Jadhav’s mother and wife meet the former Indian naval officer in Islamabad at the Pakistan foreign ministry. (ANI/Twitter)

Express News Service

“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,” Pakistan foreign office spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal tweeted before their arrival.

Soon afterwards, he posted a picture of the two women waiting at the foreign office,  saying: “The mother and wife of Commander Jadhav sitting comfortably in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Pakistan. We honour our commitments.”

Subsequently, he released pictures of the ‘meeting’, showing Jadhav, looking weary and haggard in a blue suit at least two sizes too large for him, speaking to his wife and mother divided by a glass wall.

Later, Faisal told journalists in Islamabad that Jadhav’s mother Avanti Jadhav and wife Chetna Jadhav underwent a security check before being taken to the room for their meeting, which started at 2.18 pm and lasted almost 40 minutes.

The wife (right) and mother of Kulbhushan Jadhav at the Foreign
Ministry in Islamabad on Monday.

“Indian diplomats, including Deputy High Commissioner J P Singh, accompanied Jadhav’s family and were present during the meeting, which was conducted in a specially prepared room via an intercom through a glass partition,” he said.

He also clarified that the presence of Indian diplomats during the meeting between Jadhav and his family did not mean Jadhav had been given consular access. After the meeting, Jadhav’s family went back to the Indian High Commission. They later returned to India via Oman.

According to Pakistan, Jadhav was arrested on March 3, 2016, in a ‘counter-intelligence operation’ from Mashkel area of Balochistan, and confessed on camera that he was an Indian Navy officer working for Indian intelligence agencies. On April 10 this year, he was sentenced to death by a military court for espionage and sabotage.

Faisal's tweet had 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.  India says the confession was forced, and denies any intelligence links.

Faisal also tweeted that the meeting was arranged in light of "Islamic traditions and based on purely humanitarian grounds." 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 an intercom device.

The meeting started at around 1.35 pm and lasted about 45 minutes, after which the entire party re-emerged and was driven away in a white SUV.

The two women had arrived in Islamabad earlier today via Dubai on a commercial flight, and spent about 30 minutes at the Indian Embassy before being driven to the Foreign Ministry. They are expected to stay at the Indian Embassy for a few hours before retracing their path back to India later this evening.

Before the meeting, the security check of the family was performed.

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," 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.

Jadhav's wife and mother greeted mediapersons 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.

Roads leading to the Constitution Avenue, on which the ministry is located, were closed for traffic. Special security passes were issued for those visiting the Foreign Office, the officials added.

Pakistan had on December 20 issued a visa to Jadhav's wife and mother to visit Islamabad to meet him.

Jadhav, 47, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of espionage and terrorism in April, following which India moved the ICJ in May. It is expected to hold another hearing in March or April.

Earlier today Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif told a Pakistani media channel that Pakistan has granted India consular access to Jadhav since an Indian diplomat will be accompanying the prisoner's wife and mother.

Khulbhushan Jadhav. (Twitter ANI Photo)

In India, officials downplayed the comments, maintaining that the Indian diplomat was only accompanying Jadhav's family and it cannot be construed as "consular access".

Jadhav’s friends to continue campaign for his release

Mumbai: Kulbhushan Jadhav’s friends and well-wishers in Mumbai have pledged to continue their campaign for his release even as his mother and wife met him in Islamabad on Monday.“As there is no evidence against Kulbhushan, the Pakistan government should release him immediately,” said Tulshidas Pawar, a friend of Jadhav. “Until he is brought back, our campaign will continue,” said Sachin Kale, another of Jadhav’s friends.

(with inputs from agencies)


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