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Pakistan to allow Indian spy’s meeting with mother, wife

A file photo shows Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav's case being explained during a press conference in Islamabad. (AP)
ISLAMABAD: Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav, currently on death row in Pakistan, has been allowed to meet with his family members from India.
Pakistani authorities have finalized all the arrangements for the meeting, a Foreign Ministry official told Arab News.
His wife and mother will travel to Pakistan to meet him on Dec. 25.
Earlier this week, Islamabad accepted New Delhi’s demand to allow Jadhav’s mother, Avantika Jadhav, to travel with his wife, Chetna, to Pakistan and this has been formally communicated to India.
Jadhav was arrested in March 2016 in the southwestern Pakistani province of Balochistan.
Pakistan claims that Kulbushan Jadhav — alias Hussain Mubarak Patel — is a serving commander in the Indian Navy, working with Indian intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing.
However, New Delhi and Jadhav’s family maintain that he had quit the Indian Navy and was running a small business in Iran, from where he was kidnapped.
Kulbushan Jadhav was sentenced to death by Pakistan’s military court in April 2017 on charges of espionage and terrorism.
He has filed a clemency appeal with Pakistan’s army chief, which is pending.
India moved to the International Court of Justice against the sentencing of Jadhav, after which the court ordered Pakistan not to execute Jadhav until it hears the case.
Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammed Faisal said in a statement, available with Arab News, that Pakistan has informed India that it is ready to allow the visit of the mother of “Commander” Jadhav, along with his wife.
India’s Ministry of External Affairs spokesman Raveesh Kumar said that this is a positive development.
In November this year, Pakistan told India for the first time that it was ready to arrange a meeting between Jadhav and his wife.
But New Delhi requested that Islamabad also allow his mother to travel with Jadhav’s wife and asked for security assurance for the visiting Indian family members.
Sushma Swaraj, Indian external affairs minister, took to Twitter to comment on Pakistan’s decision.
“Pakistan has agreed to facilitate the visit of mother and wife of Kulbhushan Jadhav and assured us of their safety, security and freedom of movement in Pakistan,” she tweeted.
Analysts in Pakistan consider this development as an ice-breaker between South Asian neighbors India and Pakistan, who have stalled the peace dialogue after accusing each other of supporting terrorism.
“Pakistan’s gesture will possibly help to lower the tension in bilateral relations,” Dr. Nadeem Mizra, assistant professor in the school of politics and international affairs at Quaid-e-Azam University, told Arab News.
During the past two years, tensions have been high between Pakistan and India on Kashmir’s Line of Control, the de facto border between the two countries in Kashmir.
Pakistan claimed that India committed unprecedented cease-fire violations along the Line of Control this year.
In a statement, Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said on Friday that “in 2017, more than 1,300 Indian cease-fire violations, the highest ever in the recent past, have resulted in 52 deaths and 175 were injured ... We have consistently stressed that Indian aggression is a threat to regional peace and tranquility.”
Pakistan urged the Indian side to respect the 2003 cease-fire arrangement and investigate incidents of cease-fire violations.