24/04/2017 11:05 PM IST | Updated 24/04/2017 11:05 PM IST

No Breach Of Pact By Not Giving Access To Kulbhushan Jadhav, Says Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit

India has made 15 requests for consular access.

Hindustan Times via Getty Images

NEW DELHI -- Pakistan on Monday rejected India's assertion that it is violating a bilateral pact by not giving access to retired Indian Navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav, who has been sentenced to death by a military court there.

India has made 15 requests for consular access to 46-year-old Jadhav, who has been convicted of "espionage and sabotage" by a Pakistan army court.

Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit told PTI in an interview that as per the bilateral pact on consular access, cases pertaining to political and security issues, will be decided on merit, indicating that consular access cannot be taken for granted.

Categorically dismissing the charge that Jadhav was a spy, India has maintained that he was kidnapped by Pakistani authorities from Iran where he had legitimate business interest.

Rejecting India's stand that Jadhav was kidnapped from Iran, Basit said he was caught in Balochistan and tried for "espionage and sabotage".

He also alleged that the Indian national had been travelling to Pakistan for several years and was carrying two Indian passports, including one with a fake name.

On India's position that the whole trial against was "farcical and done in a hush-hush manner", the Pakistani envoy asserted he was tried in a military court because it was not possible to try him in a civilian court.

On repeated requests for consular access to Jadhav by India, which has also accused Pakistan of violating the bilateral pact on the issue, Basit said, "We have a bilateral agreement under which it is clearly said that in matters relating to political and security issues, those cases should be decided on merit.

"So, we have so far taken a decision strictly in accordance with the law of the land and as per the bilateral agreement of 2008 (with India). We have not breached anything.

We are proceeding as per our laws as well as bilateral obligation and commitment."

The high commissioner also referred to the appeal process in Pakistan, saying Jadhav can always go to an appellate court and if the verdict is upheld then he can file a mercy petition to the Pakistan army chief and the Pakistan president.

On whether his family can meet him, Basit said it was "too premature" to comment on how the case is going to proceed.

Asked about media reports of retired Pakistani Lt Col Mohammad Habib being abducted by Indian authorities near Indo-Nepal border, the Pakistan envoy said his government is in touch with the Nepalese government on whereabouts of the missing Pakistani national.

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