India today handed over to Pakistan an appeal by the mother of retired Indian Navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav, sentenced to death by a military court, to the appellate court, initiating a process to get his conviction overturned.
The appeal on behalf of Jadhav was given to Pakistan's Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua by Indian High Commissioner Gautam Bambawale, who also handed over a petition by Jadhav's mother seeking the Pakistan government's intervention for his release and expressing the desire to meet him.
Bambawale, who met Janjua, also made a fresh request for consular access to Jadhav, the external affairs ministry said in press release in New Delhi. This is the 16th request for access.
However, Pakistani media reported that Janjua turned down Bambawale's demand saying, "access under (bilateral) agreement is meant for prisoners and not for spies."
Pakistan has rejected India's request for consular access to Jadhav 15 times.
Pakistan Army had also previously ruled out granting India consular access to Jadhav, who was sentenced to death for "espionage and subversive activities".
The external affairs ministry said the Indian envoy also "handed over an appeal by the mother to the Court of Appeal, on behalf of Jadhav, who continues to be in detention in Pakistan on concocted charges."
In the petition, Jadhav's mother has made a request for the intervention of the Pakistani government for his release and expressed the desire to meet him, it said.
As per the appeal system in Pakistan, a death row convict has to move an appellate court within 40 days of the pronouncement of the verdict.
"Pakistan was also requested to facilitate visas for the mother and father of Jadhav. They wish to travel to Pakistan to meet him and also to personally file the petition and the appeal. They have applied for necessary visa with the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi," the ministry added.
It is the second time that Bambawale has met Janjua in connection with the naval officer's case.
On April 14, Bambawale had met with the Pakistan foreign secretary and expressed India's concern regarding the whereabouts and health condition of Jadhav.
He had told the media that after his meeting that he had asked for a list of charges and an authentic copy of the verdict of the military tribunal against the retired officer to launch an appeal process against his conviction.
Jadhav was given death sentence by the Field General Court Martial earlier this month, evoking a sharp reaction in India which warned Pakistan of consequences and damage to bilateral ties if the "pre-meditated murder" was carried out.