New Delhi: India is examining various legal options to protect former Indian naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav who is currently imprisoned in Pakistan, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said on Thursday without elaborating on what these options could be. The comment by the MEA was made in response to several media queries including one on whether India would approach the International Court of Justice (ICJ) again.
India had on Wednesday accused Pakistan of both coercing Mr. Jadhav not to file a review petition against the verdict of a Pakistani military Court and of refusing to implement last year’s ICJ verdict in letter and spirit, adding that New Delhi would do its utmost to protect Mr. Jadhav and ensure his return and would consider all appropriate options for this. New Delhi had reacted, after Islamabad issued a statement “inviting” India to file the review and reconsideration petition on behalf of Mr. Jadhav “to give effect” to the ICJ Judgment.
A Pakistani military court had on April 10, 2017, sentenced Mr.Jadhav to death on charges of"espionage and sabotage". Islamabad has been claiming that Mr. Jadhav was "apprehended by Pakistan law enforcement agencies on March 3, 2016 after he illegally crossed over into Pakistan" and that he had been engaging in "espionage, terrorist and sabotage activities aimed at destabilising and waging war against Pakistan". But New Delhi has consistently rubbished these claims as false and baseless. India had argued that Mr. Jadhav was 'kidnapped from Iran, where he was carrying on business after retiring from the Indian Navy, and was then shown to have been arrested in Balochistan" on 3 March 2016 ...".
But in a major victory for India, the ICJ at The Hague in the Netherlands on July 17 last year had held Pakistan guilty of violation of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations for its failure to give India consular access to Jadhav while directing Pakistan to provide "effective review and reconsideration of the conviction and sentence" (of death penalty) awarded earlier by a Pakistani military court to Jadhav. The ICJ had also held that the "continued stay of execution constitutes an indispensable condition for the effective review and reconsideration of the conviction and sentence" of Jadhav.
On Wednesday, the MEA had said, The media statement made by Pakistan today in the case seeks to mask its continuing reticence to implement ICJ judgment in letter and spirit. Pakistan’s claim that Mr. Jadhav, who is incarcerated in Pakistan’s custody, has refused to initiate review petition is a continuation of the farce that has been in play for the last four years. Mr. Jadhav has been sentenced to execution through a farcical trial. He remains under custody of Pakistan’s military. He has clearly been coerced to refuse to file a review in his case.”
The MEA had added, “The Government will do its utmost to protect Shri Jadhav and ensure his safe return to India. To that end, it would consider all appropriate options. Since 2017, when Military Court carried out a farcical trial, Pakistan has refused to hand over any relevant document, including FIR, evidence, court order, etc in the case to India. Clearly, Pakistan is attempting to create a mirage of compliance with the ICJ judgment.”
In its statement on Wednesday, Islamabad had said, “Pakistan invited India to file review and reconsideration petition in ... Kulbushan Jadhav Case. ... the (Pakistani foreign ministry) Spokesperson said that Pakistan has invited India to file review and reconsideration petition after refusal by Jadhav to do so ... While Jadhav’s mercy petition is still pending, India is invited to file review and reconsideration petition to give effect to the Judgment of the ICJ.”