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  India   Politics  11 May 2017  Kulbhushan Jadhav fallout: India tightens medical visa norms for Pak

Kulbhushan Jadhav fallout: India tightens medical visa norms for Pak

Published : May 11, 2017, 1:14 am IST
Updated : May 11, 2017, 11:10 am IST

Pak says it is reviewing India’s plea to ICJ on Jadhav sentence.

 In this March 29, 2016 photo, journalists look a image of Indian naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav. (Photo: AP)
  In this March 29, 2016 photo, journalists look a image of Indian naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav. (Photo: AP)

New Delhi/Islamabad: India has put the squeeze on medical visas for Pakistani nationals by insisting that all requests be accompanied by a “recommendation letter” from the Pakistan PM’s foreign policy adviser, Sartaj Aziz, to ascertain if the requests are genuine.

The move is being seen as an apparent fallout of the death sentence given to Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav by a Pakistani military court that held him guilty of spying, a charge New Delhi has denied.  

After India’s intervention, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) stayed the hanging on Tuesday. New Delhi said on Wednesday that it approached the court at The Hague as “the life of an Indian national is under threat”. The decision to approach the ICJ was a “very carefully considered one”, India said.

Pakistan said on Wednesday that it was reviewing India’s plea against the sentence and (the issue of) jurisdiction of the ICJ, with Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa reportedly discussing the stay order.

On a question on why India did not approach the ICJ in 1999 in the case of Army officer Capt. Saurabh Kalia who was brutally tortured and killed by Pakistani troops in their captivity, India did not give any direct reply but sources said they did “not want to go back in history”.

Meanwhile, in his statement on medical visas for Pakistanis, ministry of external affairs (MEA) spokesperson Gopal Baglay said, “It’s not correct that we have stopped medical visas for Pakistani nationals. Thousands of medical visas were issued in previous years to Pakistani citizens to come to India. The external affairs minister herself was receiving these requests from Pakistani nationals addressed to her.”

“In order to ascertain that these are genuine requests, what we have suggested to Pakistan is that if a recommendation letter comes from their foreign policy adviser Sartaj Aziz that this is a patient who wants to get treated in India, if he (Mr Aziz) can write to our external affairs minister recommending that the person needs treatment in India, we will immediately issue the visa,” he said.

Pakistani media reports suggested acute distress among Pakistanis desperately wanting to travel to India for medical treatment.

The MEA also said external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj had written to Mr Aziz on April 27 requesting for visas for Mr Jadhav’s parents.

“We had made 16 requests for consular access (in Mr Jadhav’s case) which were denied. We got no response to requests for the documents of the case, chargesheet and court proceedings. We do not know the status of the appeal filed by the mother of Mr Jadhav and the visas applied for by the family to go to Pakistan to pursue this matter personally. They have not been granted visas so far,” he said.

He said the life of an Indian who was kidnapped and was under illegal detention in Pakistan without a fair trial was in danger.

Mr Baglay further said, “Senior lawyer Harish Salve is representing India in this matter... He has mentioned to the media that the address to the court is likely in the next few days. It is for the ICJ to decide jurisdictional issues.”

In response to a question on whether India was in touch with Iran on Mr Jadhav’s issue, he said, “I have requested our ambassador in Iran to enlighten us on this particular aspect.”

Meanwhile, Mr Aziz reportedly said, “We are analysing the Indian petition and the ICJ’s authority in this case.”

Earlier, Pakistan defence minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif said, “Indian letter to ICJ attempt to divert attention from state sponsored terrorism in Pakistan. Kulbhushan convicted of offences against national security,” he tweeted.

The Pakistan Army too said, “If the ICJ requests Pakistan anything about Jadhav, then the government of Pakistan will respond to it at an appropriate level,” it said.

Tags: medical visas, sartaj aziz, kulbhushan jadhav
Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi