India to push for his release or at least ensure fair trial in Pakistan.
New Delhi/Islamabad: Stunned at the setback at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case and with the Nawaz Sharif government facing enormous pressure over the fiasco, Pakistan said it will constitute a new team of lawyers to “vigorously” present its case.
While eminent lawyer Harish Salve, who successfully argued India’s case at the ICJ, told a TV channel that India has a Plan A and a Plan B in the case. He said Plan A involves efforts to secure the outright release of Jadhav from Pakistan’s custody, and (if this was not possible) Plan B would be to press for an annulment of the death sentence and to get Jadhav proper legal representation in Pakistan so that he can be “tried in a manner acceptable to civilised society”.
Jadhav, an Indian former naval officer, was in April this year sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of espionage and sabotage following which India had, on May 8, dragged Pakistan to the ICJ. In what was a major victory for India on Thursday, the ICJ at The Hague barred Pakistan from executing Jadhav till the court pronounces its final decision in the case.
“The international court is not a court of appeal where we show his innocence. It is a court where we say the procedure which Pakistan had adopted to arrive at this death sentence violates the principles of Vienna Convention which is a multilateral treaty,” Mr Salve was quoted by the news channel as saying, adding that Plan A is the option to argue that such “egregious violation of human rights must compel the man being released”. Mr Salve apparently said it is an option that only “adventurous lawyers like me” would try.
Mr Salve indicated that Plan B would be to argue for an annulment of the death sentence. “Get him proper legal representation (in Pakistan) and then let him be tried in a manner acceptable to civilised society,” the lawyer was quoted as saying.
Meanwhile, Pakistan PM’s adviser on foreign affairs Sartaj Aziz said in Islamabad that Pakistan would constitute a new team of lawyers to “vigorously” present its case against Jadhav at the ICJ. The statement was made after the Nawaz Sharif government faced flak from foreign policy experts, lawyers and Opposition leaders there over the handling of the case. A Pakistani website media report meanwhile claimed that Islamabad had filed a plea in the ICJ to have the Jadhav case reheard within six weeks in order to "re-challenge the jurisdiction" of the ICJ but there was no clarity till Friday evening on whether this was true.
The ICJ ruling triggered criticism of the Pakistan foreign office (FO) for its “poor handling” and also for its choice of UK-based lawyer Khawar Qureshi, who represented Pakistan’s case before the ICJ. Mr Aziz, however, maintained that Qureshi had “courageously” presented Pakistan’s case in the court, the Nation reported. “Pakistan’s security is so important and we have to maintain our fundamental sovereign right,” Mr Aziz was quoted as saying by a daily there.
Meanwhile, MEA spokesperson Gopal Baglay was quoted by news agency PTI as saying, “As of today, the Pakistan government has not provided any information about Jadhav's condition or where he has been kept there. This has been a matter of concern.”
According to government sources, since the case has reached the ICJ, New Delhi feels it is incumbent on Pakistan to produce “material evidence” about his whereabouts and well-being.