ISLAMABAD — After India accused Islamabad of not returning the shoes of alleged spy Kulbhushan Jadhav’s wife following their Dec. 26 meeting here, the Pakistan Foreign Office Dec. 27 said her were confiscated because a "metallic substance" had been detected in them.
In a statement, the Foreign Office rejected Indian allegations that the meeting was conducted in an "intimidating" atmosphere as "baseless and twisted."
"We do not wish to indulge in a meaningless battle of words. Our openness and transparency belies these allegations. If Indian concerns were serious, the guests or the Indian [diplomat] should have raised them during the visit with the media, which was readily available, but at a safe distance, as requested by India," the statement said.
The Foreign Office said the shoes of Jadhav's wife, Chetankul, were retained because they contained something 'metallic.'
"There was something in the shoe. It is being investigated. We gave her a pair of replacement shoes. All her jewelry etc. were returned after the meeting," Foreign Office spokesperson Mohammad Faisal said.
India in a strong statement accused Pakistani authorities of making Jadhav’s mother and wife remove their bindis, mangalsutras and bangles ahead of the meeting.
"For some inexplicable reason, despite her repeated requests, the shoes of the wife of Shri Jadhav were not returned to her after the meeting," India said Dec. 26, further warning "We would caution against any mischievous intent in this regard."
The Foreign Office statement recalled that Jadhav's mother "publicly thanked Pakistan for the humanitarian gesture" in front of the media, adding: "Nothing more needs to be said."
According to Dawn, in pictures taken when the two women arrived at the Foreign Office Dec. 25, Chetankul Jadhav could be seen wearing brown shoes, but left in white slippers. "Curiously, all photos taken after she disembarked from the SUV that brought them to the venue showed her looking down at her shoes," it said.
In a statement, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs Dec. 26 said: "Under the pretext of security precautions, the cultural and religious sensibilities of family members were disregarded. This included removal of mangalsutra, bangles and bindi, as well as a change in attire that was not warranted by security.
"The mother of Shri Jadhav was prevented from talking in their mother tongue, although this was clearly the natural medium of communication. She was repeatedly interrupted while doing so and eventually prevented from proceeding further in this regard," the statement added.