In a significant development, Pakistan High Commissioner Sohail Mahmood met External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. Pakistani authorities confirmed the meeting but also were quick to dismiss the reports in the media that issue of Kulbhushan Jadhav was deliberated in the meeting. Pakistan Foreign Office issued a statement to deny media reports claiming that Swaraj asked Mahmood to drop all charges against Jadhav and send him back for any progress in bilateral ties.
It need be recalled that 46-year-old Jadhav was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court in April for his alleged involvement in espionage and terrorist activities. The International Court of Justice in May halted his execution on India’s appeal.
Foreign Office spokesman Nafees Zakaria on Saturday confirmed that Mahmood met Swaraj on October 17 but asserted that it was a routine meeting by the diplomat who recently assumed office as Pakistan’s new High Commissioner to India.
“While broad contours of bilateral relations were deliberated upon during this interaction, no specific case came under discussion. Therefore, the reports appearing in the Indian media are speculative,” Zakaria said.
He also said that the meeting was held in a cordial and constructive atmosphere.
“The Minister and the High Commissioner took stock of the current state of Pakistan-India relations,” he said. He said it is “customary for the newly-posted envoys to make courtesy calls on the local dignitaries.”