Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Wednesday described the International Court of Justice (ICJ) verdict in Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav case as 'welcoming' and a 'victory' of Pakistan. "Commander Jadhav shall remain in Pakistan. He shall be treated in accordance with the laws of Pakistan. This is a victory for Pakistan," Qureshi said in a press conference to give Pakistan's formal reaction to the ICJ's verdict on Jadhav case which the court announced in The Hague the same day.
"This is an appropriate and a welcoming judgment," the foreign minister further said, adding that the ICJ has rejected the India's plea to acquit, release and hand over Jadhav to the Indian government. Qureshi also congratulated the nation on the 'victory,' saying the ICJ by not acquitting Jadhav has 'implicitly' accepted Pakistan's position that Commander Jadhav is an Indian spy who himself had confessed 'voluntarily.' He said that the ICJ has called for review and reconsideration of the death sentence to Jadhav by the military court but did not annul the verdict. He said that under Pakistani law, this right of view was already available to Jadhav, as he could have approached the high court against the military court's decision.
Qureshi further said that the ICJ has recognised the right of Pakistan to decide about the review. "This is point to ponder upon as to whether the laws of land allow the right of review... Yes. It was already there. He [Jadhav] can approach the higher judiciary against the decision [of military court]," he said.
Responding to India's objection over the trial of Jadhav in the military court, the foreign minister said that every country has its own laws to deal with the arrested persons for espionage. "Had it been the case in India, it would have adopted the same procedure," he said, adding that it was a victory of Pakistan that the ICJ did not set aside the military court's decision.
In 2017, Pakistan's military courts incriminated Jadhav with terrorism and espionage charges and sentenced him to death.
About the counselor access, Qureshi said that Pakistan is a responsible state and it has recognised the ICJ's mandate to hear the case, adding: "We will proceed ahead and take action within the ambit of law."
He said that India, in its plea, had prayed the counselor access to Jadhav which the court accepted. He said that Pakistan had turned down the India's earlier request of the counselor access for the reasons that he was arrested and later confessed that he is an Indian spy and involved in various terrorist attacks in the country.
However, he said that Pakistan's legal experts will examine the situation and proceed on the case accordingly. The Foreign Office also gave its reaction to the ICJ's verdict, saying: "Pakistan, as a responsible member of the international community, upheld its commitment from the very beginning of the case by appearing before the honourable court for the provisional measures hearing despite a very short notice. Having heard the judgement, Pakistan will now proceed as per law".
It stated that the ICJ in its judgement regarding Indian serving Naval Commander Kulbhushan Jadhav has decided not to acquit / release him, thus not accepting Indian pray. "It is reiterated that Indian Naval Commander Kulbhushan Jadhav entered Pakistan without a visa on authentic Indian passport with a fake alias Hussain Mubarak Patel," it stated.
It further stated: "Commander Kulbhushan Jadhav is responsible for acts of sabotage, espionage and multiple terrorist incidents in which scores of innocent Pakistani citizens were killed resulting into umpteen women being widowed and numerous children becoming orphans". "Commander Kulbhushan Jadhav has confessed all these acts during his trial in Pakistani court in front of a judicial magistrate. This is a clear case of Indian state terrorism," it added.