A childhood friend of Kulbhushan Jadhav today expressed happiness over Pakistan's decision to allow the convicted Indian death row prisoner to meet his wife Chetna in prison. "We are happy. Our expectations have risen with this decision," Tulshidas Pawar, the friend of the former Indian Navy officer, told PTI. "We, the friends and family members (of Jadhav), are happy about this decision.
We take it as a positive step and believe that he is not being harmed," he added. Pakistan should release Jadhav and hand him over to India at the earliest, Pawar said, adding, "After his wife meets him, we will get a fair idea about his physical and mental condition." "From the beginning, we have been saying that Kulbhushan is not involved in the kind of activities for which he has been convicted," he added. Pawar and Jadhav have been friends since childhood at Prithvi Nandan Society in central Mumbai's Lower Parel area, where the former Navy officer grew up. Pawar and some other friends of Jadhav had also undertaken a signature campaign in a bid to put pressure on Pakistan to secure his release. The Pakistani authorities had yesterday said they would allow Jadhav to meet his wife, months after India's request to Islamabad to grant a visa to the former Navy officer's mother, Avantika, on humanitarian grounds. "The Government of Pakistan has decided to arrange a meeting of Commander Kulbhushan Jadhav with his wife, in Pakistan, purely on humanitarian grounds," Pakistan's Foreign Office spokesperson Mohammad Faisal had said in a statement. "A Note Verbale to this effect has been sent to the Indian High Commission in Islamabad, today," he had added. Jadhav was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court in April on charges of espionage and terrorism. The International Court of Justice (ICJ) had, in May, halted his execution on India's appeal. On June 22, Jadhav had filed a mercy petition before Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa. Pakistan claims to have arrested Jadhav from the Balochistan province on March 3 last year after he reportedly entered that country from Iran. However, India maintains that Jadhav was abducted in Iran, where he had business interests after retiring from the Indian Navy.
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