India for legal option on Jadhav

India for legal option on Jadhav

India is exploring the legal options available in Pakistan to save former navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav, even  as New Delhi renewed its  request for consular access to him.

India on Thursday said that Islamabad has neither shared any information on Jadhav’s whereabouts nor has it revealed about his physical or mental condition despite several requests.

“We have no information about his (Jadhav’s) whereabouts or his condition. We are making all efforts to get him back but we can’t reveal the steps that will be taken to achieve it,” Gopal Baglay, spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, told journalists here.

India continues to be in touch with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan through the High Commission of India in Islamabad, Baglay added.

A source said on Thursday that New Delhi had instructed the High Commission of India to keep nudging the Pakistan government for granting consular access to Jadhav.

Ever since Islamabad claimed in March 2016 that Jadhav had been arrested from Balochistan in Pakistan, New Delhi made 13 requests for granting consular access. Islamabad, however, turned down all the requests.

New Delhi is also weighing the options available to it within the legal framework of Pakistan to make Islamabad lift the veil of secrecy from the judicial proceedings against Jadhav.

Islamabad claimed that Jadhav had been tried by a Field General Court Martial under Section 59 of Pakistan’s Army Act, 1952, and Section 3 of the Official Secrets Act, 1923, and had been found “guilty of all charges”.

Another source said that since the Army Act had been invoked, it could be difficult for anyone to file a Habeas Corpus petition in a court in Pakistan. Jadhav can challenge the sentence awarded to him in the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

If the Supreme Court upholds the sentence awarded by the military court, he can move a mercy petition to the president of Pakistan.

“We cannot ascertain anything since we do not have consular access. Which kind of spy keeps an original passport with him, so I have my doubts about allegation of him being a spy...We need to know how he came to be in Pakistan in the first place,” Baglay said.

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