FO rejects India criticism of legislation about Jadhav

Published June 20, 2021
The National Assembly last week passed the International Court of Justice (Review and Re-consideration) Bill, which gives the right of appeal to Kulbhushan Jadhav, who has been sentenced to death by a military tribunal for his role in espionage. — INP/File
The National Assembly last week passed the International Court of Justice (Review and Re-consideration) Bill, which gives the right of appeal to Kulbhushan Jadhav, who has been sentenced to death by a military tribunal for his role in espionage. — INP/File

ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office on Saturday rejected Indian criticism of the Kulbhushan Jadhav-specific legislation passed by the National Assembly recently and accused Delhi of politicising the issue by misinterpreting the International Court of Justice verdict in the case.

“Pakistan abides by all its international obligations, and this applies to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) judgement in the case of Indian spy Commander Kulbhushan Jadhav,” the FO said in its rejoinder to a statement by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs.

The National Assembly last week passed the Inter­national Court of Justice (Review and Re-considera­tion) Bill, which gives the right of appeal to Jadhav, who has been sentenced to death by a military tribunal for his role in espionage.

An Indian MEA spokesman had while commenting on the bill passed by the National Assembly, said: “The Bill codifies into law the earlier Ordinance — with all its shortcomings. It does not create a machinery to facilitate effective review and reconsideration of Shri Jadhav’s case, as mandated by the judgement of the International Court of Justice.”

“The Ordinance, now the Bill, invites the municipal courts in Pakistan to decide whether or not any prejudice has been caused to Shri Jadhav on account of the failure to provide consular access,” he said, claiming that it was “clearly a breach of the basic tenet that municipal courts cannot be the arbiter of whether a State has fulfilled its obligations in international law.”

“We call upon Pakistan to take appropriate steps to address the shortcomings in the Bill and to comply with the judgement of the ICJ in letter and spirit,” the MEA spokesman had further said.

The FO, meanwhile, in its reaction rejected Indian comments as “regrettable” and observed that Delhi was misrepresenting the ICJ judgement. It recalled that the verdict in its paragraph No 147 had stated that: “Pakistan is under an obligation to provide, by means of its own choosing, effective review and reconsideration of the conviction and sentence of Mr. Jadhav…”

It said the Pakistan government in accordance with paragraph No 146 of the ICJ judgement chose to provide Jadhav the right of review and reconsideration by superior courts of Pakistan through the International Court of Justice (Review and Re-consideration) Ordinance, 2020.

Pakistan’s commitment to uphold the ICJ’s judgement was again reflected by the passage of ICJ (Review and Reconsideration) Bill for Review from the National Assembly of Pakistan, it underscored.

Paragraph 118 of the ICJ verdict, it reminded, also requires “India to act in good faith, and arrange legal representation for Commander Jadhav”.

The FO said India deliberately obfuscated the issue of appointment of a lawyer. The government of Pakistan, it maintained, then initiated proceedings before the Islamabad High Court for the appointment of a lawyer for Jadhav.

“The Honourable Court has repeatedly invited India to clarify its position in this regard but India continues to deliberately politicise the issue,” it said.

“The Government of India’s refusal to avail itself of the legal remedies provided by Pakistan and such statements reveal their nefarious designs to undermine Pakistan’s efforts and discredit the ICJ judgement regarding Commander Jadhav,” it added.

Published in Dawn, June 20th, 2021

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