jailed spy arrive

Indian friends of Kulbhushan Jadhav hold a photograph of them with Jadhav in the neighborhood where he grew up in Mumbai on May 18, 2017. (Punit Paranjpe/AFP/Getty Images)

ISLAMABAD (AP) — The wife and mother of an imprisoned Indian naval officer facing the death penalty in Pakistan for espionage and sabotage have arrived in Islamabad for a rare meeting with him.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Faisal said Pakistan allowed the Dec. 25 meeting as a “humanitarian gesture.”

It will be the first meeting between Kulbhushan Jadhav and his family since he was arrested in March 2016 after entering the country from Iran.

A military tribunal found Jadhav guilty of espionage and sabotage and sentenced him to death, but India obtained an order from the International Court of Justice to halt the execution.

IANS adds: According to itinerary details obtained by Geo News, Jadhav's mother Avanti and wife flew in to Islamabad via Dubai. They will meet him at the Foreign Office later on Dec. 25 and are slated to leave the same day.

Indian Deputy High Commissioner J.P. Singh will also be present at the meeting, which will last for 30 minutes, according to the Foreign Office spokesperson.

The roads leading from and to the Foreign Office building have been closed to traffic ahead of the meeting. 

A Mumbai-based former naval officer-turned-businessman, Jadhav was arrested on March 3, 2016, and was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of espionage and terrorism.

After persistent demands by New Delhi, the Pakistan government finally permitted the meeting terming it as "purely on humanitarian grounds.”

India has maintained Jadhav's innocence and said he was kidnapped from Iran where he had gone for handling his businesses after superannuation from the Indian Navy.

Despite the death verdict, Pakistan last week reiterated that he was not under a threat of an immediate execution as his mercy petitions were still pending.

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