ISLAMABAD: Two days after India objected to the recently-passed legislation providing for the right of appeal to Kulbhushan Jadhav, the Foreign Office, on Saturday, regretted the New Delhi’s “politicising” of the issue and “misrepresenting” the International Court of Justice’s (ICJ’s) July 17, 2019 judgment in the case of the arrested Indian spy. The Foreign Office spokesperson, Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri, responded to his Indian counterpart Arindam Bagchi’s remarks he had given in his media weekly briefing in New Delhi, on Thursday, asking Pakistan to take “appropriate” steps to address the “shortcomings” in the bill – The International Court of Justice (Review and Reconsideration) Bill, 2021, passed by the National Assembly on June 10, 2021.
“We have seen the remarks of the Indian MEA’s spokesperson regarding International Court of Justice (Review and Re-consideration) Bill passed by the National Assembly of Pakistan,” Chaudhri said.
He said that Pakistan abides by all its international obligations, and this applies to the ICJ judgment in the case of Indian spy Commander Jadhav.
“It is regrettable that the government of India has chosen to misrepresent the ICJ judgment which clearly states in Paragraph 147 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…”, he added.
In line with paragraph 146 of the ICJ judgement Pakistan chose to provide Commander Jadhav the right of review and reconsideration by superior courts of Pakistan through the International Court of Justice (Review and Re-consideration) Ordinance, 2020, he said.
“Pakistan’s commitment to uphold the ICJ judgment was again reflected by the passage of ICJ (Review and Reconsideration) Bill for Review from the National Assembly of Pakistan,” he added.
He pointed out that the judgement of the ICJ (Para 118) also requires India to act in good faith, and arrange legal representation for Commander Jadhav.
“Regrettably, India has been engaging in a deliberate campaign to obfuscate the issue of appointment of a lawyer,” Chaudhri pointed out.
As a result, the government of Pakistan had to initiate proceedings before the Islamabad High Court to request the Court to appoint a lawyer for Commander Jadhav, he added.
He said the court has repeatedly invited India to clarify its position in this regard but India continues to deliberately politicise the issue.
“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 judgment regarding Commander Jadhav,” the spokesperson further remarked.
Jadhav, a serving Indian Navy officer, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of espionage and terrorism in April 2017.
India subsequently approached the ICJ against the decision as well as alleged “denial” of consular access to Jadhav and also challenged the death sentence.
The ICJ in July 17, 2019 judgement asked Pakistan to undertake an “effective review and reconsideration” of the conviction and sentence of Jadhav and also grant consular access to India.
Pakistan has so far granted consular access to India on two different occasions, but India raised objections on the circumstances under which the access was granted every time.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021