As the kin of former naval officer and alleged spy Kulbhushan Jadhav are scheduled to meet him today, his friends and well-wishers are hopeful of him being released soon by Pakistan.
Jadhav was arrested March this year in Balochistan, Pakistan, over charges of alleged involvement in espionage and subversive activities for India's intelligence agency - the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW).
Since then, there have been constant efforts from the Indian government to gain consular access to him, only to go in vain each time. However, earlier this month, Pakistan had agreed to facilitate the visit of Jadhav's kin and also assured their safety, security, and freedom of movement in the nation. Subsequently, on December 20, Pakistan issued visas to Jadhav's mother and wife to meet him on humanitarian grounds.
While his friends see this as a positive step, they say the visit will be a crucial one, as it will reveal details about his physical and mental condition.
"This is a very emotional time for Kulbhushan Jadhav's family and all of us. We have not known his whereabouts for two years now, so I'm happy that his family is being given a chance to meet him and understand how his condition is, and whether he has been tortured or not," Jadhav's friend Arvind Singh told ANI.
Further, another friend of Jadhav, Sachin Kade opined that the former must be released at the earliest, as the truth is on his side.
"Pakistan, as we have seen, has no solid evidence against Jadhav. Therefore, I feel he should be released at the earliest. Also, all nations know the real side of Pakistan, and this impression that the latter has created for them self will benefit India," he said.
Recently, a bike rally and human chain were organised in Mumbai by Jadhav's friends, in a bid to extend their support to his family at this crucial phase.
"The main objective behind the rally and human chain was to extend our support to Kulbhushan Jadhav's family and assure them that they are not alone in this fight," said Subrato Mukherjee, another friend of Jadhav.
On a related note, Jadhav's wife and mother will be meeting him today, for which the two women travelled to Pakistan by a commercial flight, and are scheduled to leave by evening.
Indian Deputy High Commissioner in Islamabad J.P. Singh will accompany them, along with one or two officers of the FO, the Dawn reported.
The meeting will last between 15 minutes to an hour, and the two women will be allowed to speak to media if they wish to, the Dawn said, citing diplomatic sources.