ISLAMABAD: The army said on Wednesday that various legal options for “review and reconsideration” of Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav’s case were being studied, but ruled out any amendment to the Army Act.

Military spokesman Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor in a brief statement on Twitter said: “Various legal options for review and reconsideration of the case are being considered. Final status shall be shared in due course of time.”

He made these comments in response to reports in a section of media that an amendment to the Pakistan Army Act was being planned to grant Jadhav, who had been awarded death penalty by a Field General Court Martial (FGCM) for being guilty of espionage, the right to appeal in a civilian court against his conviction and sentencing.

“Speculations for amendment in Pak Army Act to implement ICJ verdict regarding convicted Indian terrorist Cdr Kulbhushan Jadhav are incorrect,” he said.

It should be recalled that the International Court of Justice had in its verdict in the Jadhav case asked Pakistan to grant consular access and ensure “effective review and reconsideration of his conviction and sentences”.

Pakistan provided consular access to Jadhav on Sept 2.

The ICJ, moreover, while rejecting India’s contention that Jadhav was entitled to ‘restitutio in integrum’ (restoration to original position) and turning down its plea for annulment of the FGCM verdict, ruled that that Pakistan may conduct an effective review and reconsideration of the sentence awarded to Jadhav by the means of its own choosing.

The issue was also taken up by PPP parliamentary leader in the Senate Sherry Rehman in the upper house of parliament. Speaking on a point of public importance, she sought clarification over media reports that the government was bringing legislation to give Jadhav right to appeal against his conviction.

Minister for Human Rights Dr Shireen Mazari, in her response, rejected the rumours and said no such legislation was being introduced.

Published in Dawn, November 14th, 2019