ISLAMABAD: Describing the world court’s verdict staying the execution of the convicted Indian spy Kulbushan Jadhav as a setback for Pakistan, the opposition on Thursday lambasted the government for what it called mishandling the case, with many alleging that it was result of a covert deal and linking it with the recent visit of Indian steel tycoon Sajjan Jindal’s visit to Pakistan.

Read more: 'Pakistan made a mistake'

PTI’s Information Secretary Shafqat Mehmood has demanded the PM disclose all details of his covert meetings with Indian businessmen Jindal.

In a statement, he raised seven critical questions on the matter and sought explanation from the prime minister. He asked the PM to come to the National Assembly and explain why Pakistan did not appoint an ad hoc judge because it had a right to do so and why the Foreign Office did not take legal advice before initiating correspondence on the issue.

Also why the government had selected a lawyer who had not a single international law case reported from the UK Supreme Court and what was the reason to engage London Queen’s Counsel (QC) who was based in Qatar? He further asked why the government assigned the task to a lawyer who had never argued a case independently before the International Court of Justice and what compelled the government to send a first year associate from Attorney General’s Office instead of AG himself to the ICJ. Seeking an explanation why the government did not submit a written defence before May 15, Mr Mehmood said today’s decision was a clear outcome of the rendezvous of Mr Sharif and his Indian friend Jindal.

Minister cautions against playing politics over issues of national security

The PTI leader stated that questions were frequently raised over the stance of Pakistan on the jurisdiction of the ICJ and added that the impression was gaining ground that the government deliberately adopted an irresolute and fragile strategy in the matter. Dr Shirin Mazari, another PTI leader and an expert on international relations, said she was not surprised by the judgement at all and accused the PML-N government of deliberately playing the game to advance the interests of India. “They wanted the ICJ to give a stay. This was a game which started after Jindal’s visit to Pakistan,” she alleged.

She said acceptance of ICJ jurisdiction should have been withdrawn which was voluntary, but it was not done. She said even if a decision to fight a case had been taken, Pakistan should have gone there fully prepared but regretted that a Qatari lawyer with little knowhow was engaged.

She said the Pakistani legal team supported India on the issue of urgency by saying that Jadhav would be executed in three months instead of explaining the appeal process and review. She said Jadhav was a prized asset for the Indian government as he was not just a spy but a spymaster running his cells.

The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) while demanding convening of a meeting of the national security committee on the issue of Jadhav has observed that the case in the ICJ has been mishandled.

Talking to reporters, PPP Vice President Sherry Rehman said Pakistan failed to plead its case and the counsel completed his arguments in 50 minutes against the allocated time of 90 minutes. She said Pakistan should have got appointed its ad hoc judge under the relevant rules. She said the opportunity was available till May 10 but was missed out. She said Jadhav’s issue should have been raised at the United Nations General Assembly.

She pointed out that Jadhav was not only an Indian spy but was also involved in terrorism in Pakistan and was arrested from its territory. She said Pakistan wanted peace with India but not at the cost of national dignity.

PML-Q leader Senator Kamil Ali Agha, when contacted, described the ICJ decision as the biggest diplomatic defeat. He said the available options had not been used and asked the prime minister to explain why the case had been mishandled.

He said the ICJ had jurisdiction over the cases where both the parties consented. He noted that Pakistan had the option to stay away from the proceedings. He alleged that the entire drama had been staged as a result of Nawaz Sharif’s meeting with Jindal. Minister of State for Information Marriyam Aurangzeb in a statement however claimed that the case had been fought in the best possible manner and advised the opposition not to play politics over the issues of national security.

She ruled out any compromise on national security and said the ministry of law was minutely examining the ICJ verdict. She pointed out that Jadhav had confessed to be an Indian spy and terrorist.

Published in Dawn, May 19th, 2017


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