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India renews demand for consular access to Jadhav

New Delhi: India on Tuesday reminded Pakistan that its request for consular access to civilian Indian prisoners, including Kulbhushan Jadhav, was still pending and conveyed its deep concern over delay in repatriation of prisoners under Islamabads custody despite completion of sentence.

Sources said External Affairs Ministry gave a note verbale to the Pakistan High Commission here calling for immediate release and repatriation of 10 Indian civilian prisoners lodged in Pakistan jails who have already completed their sentence and whose nationality has been confirmed.

It gave the names of Indian prisoners and the time of completion of their sentence. The prisoners have been in Pakistan jails for varying periods since completion of their sentence with one of them being there for the last five years.

Noting that India has been providing consular access in a timely manner to High Commission officials to their prisoners in India, the ministry said that that similar access to Indian fishermen and prisoners in Pakistan jails is inordinately delayed.

Jadhav was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court for alleged espionage in April 2017 following which India moved the ICJ. A 10-member ICJ bench restrained Pakistan from executing Jadhav till the case was adjudicated on.

Pakistan had stated that “Jadhav was not an ordinary person as he had entered the country with the intent of spying and carrying out sabotage activities” in Balochistan. India denies all the charges and with its officials stating that he was abducted from Iran and taken to Pakistan against his will.

Sources said the MEA also gave names of five prisoners lodged in Pakistan jails who have been confirmed to be Indian nationals and called for necessary arrangements for their early release.

Pakistan was also told that there are 385 Indian fishermen, whose nationality has been confirmed and conveyed to Pakistan and who have been languishing in Pakistan jails despite completing their sentences.

The Ministry called for urgent and concrete steps to repatriate them to India at the earliest, along with their boats.

The Ministry also shared its serious concern and protest over “delayed information” of death of Indian fisherman Bhikha.

The Indian government, the ministry said, has been consistently raising with Pakistan its concern regarding missing Indian defence personnel, including Prisoners of War, believed to be in Pakistan’s custody. However, no response has been received.

Islamabad was urged to take necessary steps immediately to locate, release and repatriate the missing Indian defence personnel believed to be held in Pakistan custody.

Source: IANS

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