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ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) asked the federal government to extend another opportunity to the Indian government to assist the court on behalf of spy Commander Kulbhushan Jadhav.

The IHC larger bench, headed by Chief Justice Athar Minallah, and comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb on Thursday heard the federal government’s plea seeking the appointment of a legal representative for Indian spy Jadhav for filing his review petition against his death sentence.

Extending another opportunity to the Indian government to assist the court on behalf of Jadhav, the IHC bench noted that “justice should not only be done but manifested and undoubtedly be seen to have been done”.

It added, “We, therefore, expect that the Government of Pakistan would extend yet another opportunity to the Government of India to assist us on behalf of Commander Jadhav otherwise the proceedings would not be seen as if justice has been manifestly and undoubtedly done.”

During the hearing, the Attorney General for Pakistan, Khalid Javed Khan, informed that the International Court of Justice (Review and Re-consideration) Act, 2021 was promulgated and notified in the gazette on 4th December, 2021.

He also informed, Section 2, explicitly provides that, inter alia, a consular officer of the mission of the State may file a petition before a High Court for review and reconsideration of an order of conviction or sentence handed down by a military court.

The AGP also placed before the court copies of note verbale, dated 21st January 2022 received from the Government of India and the reply of Pakistan government.

The written order of the IHC bench stated that after going through the note verbale, dated 21st January 2022, it prima facie, appears to us that probably that the Indian government may not have properly appreciated the judgment of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) rendered in the case of Commander Jadhav.

It noted that the procedure required to be adopted and the powers of the Court are implicit in the judgment sought to be implemented, particularly paragraphs 137 to 145 thereof. “We feel that promulgation of the Act of 2021 has provided a statutory right to seek review and reconsideration of a conviction and sentence handed down by a military court. The scope of review appears to be wide enough to alleviate the concerns of Indian government,” maintained the court.

It further said, “We have consistently noted, and we reiterate that Commander Jadhav besides being the national of a sovereign foreign State, is also a human being. He retains his rights as a human. The scope of Article 9 of the 1973 Constitution, which guarantees the right to life is not confined to the citizens of Pakistan but equally protects Commander Jadhav.”

The court further said that moreover, Article 10-A guarantees to the latter the constitutional right of fair trial and due process. It continued that they are, therefore, mindful that while implementing the judgment of the ICJ, it is their constitutional duty to safeguard the right to fair trial and due process.

The bench said that though not required, they had appointed one of the most senior professional counsels as amici curiae to assist the court in the matter in hand.

The case was adjourned until April 13.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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