Kulbhushan Jadhav, the Indian naval officer sentenced to death in Pakistan, meets his wife and mother, more than a year after he was arrested in Pakistan's Balochistan province on espionage charges.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mohammad Faisal said that Pakistan permitted the meeting
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mohammad Faisal said that Pakistan permitted the meeting "as a humanitarian gesture on the birthday of the father of the nation, Quaid e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah." (Ministry of Foreign Affairs Pakistan)

Pakistan on Monday allowed the wife and mother of an Indian naval officer convicted of espionage to visit him in Islamabad, eight months after he was sentenced to death by a military court.

Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav was arrested in March 2016 in the Pakistan's restive Balochistan province.

The case has added to tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbours, who often accuse each other of violating a 2003 ceasefire along their disputed border in Kashmir, where the countries sometime engage in intense artillery duels.

TRT World spoke with Islamabad-based journalist Kamran Yousaf for more details.

Pakistan released a picture of Jadhav's mother, Avanti, and wife, Chetankul, seated at a desk and speaking to him from behind a glass window.

"The mother and wife of Commander Jadhav sitting comfortably in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Pakistan. We honour our commitments," a spokesman for Pakistan's foreign office, Mohammad Faisal, said in an earlier Twitter posting when the women first arrived at the ministry in Islamabad.

India's foreign affairs office has not responded to a request for comment on the meeting.

Intervention of ICJ

After Jadhav was sentenced to death in April, India asked the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for an injunction to bar the execution, arguing that he was denied diplomatic assistance during what New Delhi says was an unfair trial.

The world court ordered Pakistan in May to delay Jadhav's execution.

In several interviews broadcast on Pakistani media, Jadhav confessed to being ordered by India's intelligence service to conduct espionage and sabotage in Balochistan "to destabilise and wage war against Pakistan."

Balochistan is at the centre of a $57 billion Chinese-backed Belt and Road development project that at first focused on Chinese companies building roads and power stations, but is now expanding to include setting up industries.

In a confession released by Pakistan, the Indian officer says disrupting the Chinese-funded projects was a main goal of his activities. 

Former Indian navy officer Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav's mother Avanti (L) and wife, Chetankul, (3rd R) arrive to meet him in Islamabad, Pakistan on December 25, 2017.
Former Indian navy officer Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav's mother Avanti (L) and wife, Chetankul, (3rd R) arrive to meet him in Islamabad, Pakistan on December 25, 2017. (Reuters)

Family petition speaks of sabotage

Jadhav and his wife have petitioned the Pakistan army for a pardon, but have yet to receive a response.

In his petition, seen by Associated Press news agency, Jadhav says, "I feel very shamed and I genuinely seek pardon of the acts and sins and crimes I have committed here against the nation and the people of Pakistan."

Pakistan says Jadhav was working for the Indian spy agency, RAW.

Pakistan and India have a history of bitter relations and they have fought three wars since they gained independence in 1947.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies