ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office on Thursday accused India of blocking the implementation of International Court of Justice’s verdict in spy Kulbhushan Jadhav’s case by not cooperating in the legal proceedings in the Islamabad High Court.
“Our understanding is that India is making every possible effort to frustrate Pakistan’s efforts for implementation of the ICJ judgment and use Kulbhushan Jadhav’s case as a propaganda tool against Pakistan,” Foreign Office spokesman Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri said at the weekly media briefing.
Jadhav, who was arrested in 2016 in Balochistan, was sentenced to death by a military court in 2017 after being convicted of espionage.
The Pakistan government had on June 17, after the enactment of ‘the International Court of Justice (Review and Reconsideration) Ordinance, 2020’ invited Jadhav to file for a review and reconsideration of his conviction and sentencing by military court on charges of espionage. The spy and the Indian High Commission were asked to arrange a legal representation for him.
The special legislation allowed foreigners, their authorised representatives or consular officials of the mission of their country, to seek a review by the High Court of conviction and sentences awarded by military court in instances in which ICJ has ruled about their rights under Vienna Convention on Consular Relations of 1963 or they feel that they had been deprived of their rights under the Convention.
The Indian High Commission was also provided a second consular access to him in July for discussing the case. The consular officials, who came for the meeting abruptly walked off, protesting over the presence of a security guard in the room. A third opportunity was offered, but India has not availed it as yet.
The move to offer review and reconsideration of the case was made to implement last year’s ICJ verdict, which asked Pakistan to allow Indian consular officers’ access to him, and arrange effective review and reconsideration of the conviction and sentence of Jadhav.
“To give effect to the ICJ judgment, the Government of Pakistan has itself approached the Islamabad High Court,” the spokesman said.
India now wants Pakistan to allow an Indian lawyer to represent Jadhav in the review proceedings in Islamabad High Court.
“The Indian side has been making incongruous demand of allowing Indian lawyer to represent Commander Jadhav. We have repeatedly told them only those lawyers can represent Commander Jadhav in the court who have a licence to practice law in Pakistan,” the spokesman said.
“This is in accordance with the legal practice in other jurisdictions also. The Indian Supreme Court, in one of its judgments, has also ruled that foreign lawyers cannot practice law within the country,” he added.
The next hearing in the case is on September 3.
Mr Chaudhri asked India to cooperate with Pakistan in implementing the ICJ judgement.
Responding to a question on Kashmir, the spokesman said Pakistan wants reversal of the illegal and unilateral actions of August 5, 2019; immediate lifting of the military siege and restrictions imposed on the Kashmiri people; release of all prisoners, especially the political prisoners; revocation of the draconian laws including Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), Public Safety Act (PSA) and Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA); all domiciles issued post-Aug 5, 2019 be declared null and void; unfettered access to UNMOGIP in the IIOJK be given as per its UN mandate; permission for human rights observers, humanitarian organisations and international media to visit IIOJK; and allowing the people of Jammu and Kashmir to exercise their inalienable right to self-determination as enshrined in the relevant UNSC resolutions.
He said Pakistan’s position on Kashmir has been consistent.
Published in Dawn, August 28th, 2020