Pakistan grants India access to alleged spy on death row

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Pakistan said it would grant consular access to an alleged Indian spy on death row Monday, weeks after the International Court of Justice called for a review of his sentence in a case that has stoked tensions between the nuclear-armed rivals.

“Consular access for Indian spy Commander Kulbhushan Jadhav, a serving Indian naval officer and RAW operative, is being provided on Monday 2 September 2019,” tweeted foreign ministry spokesman Mohammad Faisal late Sunday.

A senior Indian government official confirmed the meeting, and told AFP that New Delhi hoped “Pakistan will ensure right atmosphere so that the meeting is free, fair, meaningful and effective in keeping with the letter and spirit of the ICJ orders.”

The decision comes weeks after the ICJ in July ordered Islamabad to provide the prisoner with consular access but rejected India’s demand that Jadhav be freed.

The former Indian naval officer was arrested in March 2016 in Pakistan’s restive southwestern province of Balochistan -- a region where Islamabad has long accused New Delhi of backing separatist rebels.

According to Indian officials, Jadhav retired from the navy in 2001 and was running a “logistics” business in the Iranian port of Chabahar.

New Delhi insists he was taken captive in Iran before being moved to Pakistan and then forced to confess.

Tensions have soared between the arch-rivals in recent weeks following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s move last month to revoke the autonomy of its portion of the disputed Kashmir region.

In response Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has launched a diplomatic offensive against India and led mass protests lambasting Modi.

Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since independence, and has been the spark for two major wars and countless skirmishes between the rivals.

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