Sushma Swaraj Slams Sartaj Aziz Over Visa Row

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New Delhi: External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj lambasted Pakistan PM’s advisor on foreign affairs Sartaj Aziz on Monday, saying “Mr Aziz has not shown the courtesy even to acknowledge my letter” on the request for granting a visa to former Indian naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav’s mother Avantika.

In a series of tweets, Ms Swaraj said, “I have my sympathies for all Pakistan nationals seeking medical visa for their treatment in India. I am sure Mr Sartaj Aziz also has consideration for the nationals of his country. All that we require is his recommendation for the grant of medical visa to Pakistan nationals.

I see no reason why should he hesitate to give his recommendation for nationals of his own country. We also have a visa application pending for an Indian national Ms Avantika Jadhav, who wants to meet her son in Pakistan against whom they have pronounced a death sentence.”
“I wrote a personal letter to Mr Aziz for the grant of her visa to Pakistan. However, Mr Aziz has not shown the courtesy even to acknowledge my letter,” she tweeted.

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She said a visa application was pending for Indian national Avantika Jadhav who wants to meet her son in Pakistan. A few months ago, India had tightened its visa norms for Pakistanis wanting medical visas following a Pakistani military court sentencing Jadhav to death on charges of espionage and sabotage.

Mr Jadhav’s parents had submitted an application to the Pakistan high commission a few months ago for grant of visa as they wanted to see their son who has been jailed in Pakistan. But there has been no response so far from Islamabad which has also repeatedly refused New Delhi consular access to Mr Jadhav.

But Ms Swaraj’s outburst shows the hurt at not even receiving an acknowledgement from Mr Aziz of her letter. The civilian government in Pakistan was always seen as softer on India compared to the Pakistani military. But Ms Swaraj’s attack shows the deep deterioration in ties between the two neighbours.

Mr Jadhav, 46, was allegedly arrested by Pakistan in the restive Balochistan province last year. He has been sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of espionage and terrorism.