The Pakistan Foreign Ministry says it has given permission to the wife and mother of an Indian naval officer facing the death penalty for espionage in Pakistan to visit the man in Islamabad.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Faisal on December 24 said in a Twitter statement that the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi had issued visas to the two women to visit with Kulbhushan Jadhav on December 25.
Faisal said the two women will fly to Islamabad to meet with Jadhav, who was arrested in March 2016 by Pakistani officials after he entered the country from neighboring Iran.
The prisoner will be brought to the ministry for the meeting, the spokesman said. He added that India had requested that Pakistan to prevent journalists from speaking with the family members for security reasons.
The Associated Press quoted a security official involved with arranging the meeting as saying it will be conducted in the presence of three Indian diplomats.
"The mother and wife of Jadhav will be able to see and talk to him, but there will be a partition between them for security reasons," the official said.
Jadhav has filed a mercy petition with Islamabad's chief of army staff on “compassionate grounds,” the Pakistani military said in June.
The military stated that Jadhav "has admitted his involvement in espionage, terrorist, and subversive activities in Pakistan and expressed remorse at the resultant loss of any precious lives and extensive damage to property due to his actions."
The AP, which said it has seen the mercy petition, reported Jadhav as writing that "I feel very shamed and I genuinely seek pardon of the acts and sins and crimes I have committed here against the nation and the people of Pakistan."
Pakistan alleges that Jadhav was working for India’s Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), the country’s intelligence agency.
New Delhi denies Jadhav was a spy and claims he was kidnapped from Iran.
After Jadhav was sentenced to death in April, India asked the International Court of Justice to block the execution, arguing he was denied diplomatic assistance during his trial.
The court ordered Pakistan in May to delay Jadhav's execution. It argued that Islamabad violated a treaty guaranteeing diplomatic assistance to foreigners accused of crimes. An appeal is under way.
Pakistan and India are longstanding bitter rivals in the region and have fought three wars since they gained independence in 1947.
With reporting by AP, Geo News, and The Hindustan Times