External Affairs

Kulbhushan Jadhav Case: Pakistan to File Counter-Memorial in ICJ

After the submission of the second counter-memorial, the ICJ will fix the matter for hearing, which is likely to take place next year.

Islamabad: Pakistan will file its second written reply to India on July 17 in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the conviction of Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav who was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of espionage and terrorism, said a media report today.

The ICJ on January 23 gave a timeline to both Pakistan and India for filing another round of memorials in the case.

Pakistan’s counter-memorial will be in response to pleadings filed by India in the Hague-based ICJ on April 17.

Top attorney Khawar Qureshi, who pleaded Pakistan’s case at the initial stage, briefed Prime Minister Nasirul Mulk regarding the case last week, reported the Express Tribune.

Attorney general for Pakistan Khalid Javed Khan and other senior officials also attended the meeting.

According to the Express Tribune, the counter-memorial has been drafted by Qureshi.

After the submission of the second counter-memorial, the ICJ will fix the matter for hearing, which is likely to take place next year.

A senior lawyer, who has expertise in international litigation, told the Tribune that there is no chance of the case being heard this year.

Even the hearing of other matters has already been fixed until March/April next year. Therefore, Jadhav’s case will be listed in summer next year, he said.

India had moved the ICJ in May last year after Jadhav, 48, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of espionage and terrorism.

A ten member bench of the ICJ on May 18 had restrained Pakistan from executing Jadhav till adjudication of the case.

In its written pleadings, India had accused Pakistan of violating the Vienna convention by not giving consular access to Jadhav, arguing that the convention failed to say that such access would not be available to an individual arrested on espionage charges.

In response, Pakistan through its counter-memorial on December 13, told the ICJ that the 1963 Vienna convention on consular relations applied only to legitimate visitors and did not cover clandestine operations.

Pakistan said that “since India did not deny that Jadhav was travelling on a passport with an assumed Muslim name, they have no case to plead.”

It added that India had not explained how “a serving naval commander” was travelling under an assumed name, and that “since Jadhav was on active duty, it is obvious that he was a spy sent on a special mission.”

Giving a false identity to Jadhav, sending him for espionage and funding of terrorists activities are some of the reasons which disentitle India from invoking the jurisdiction of the ICJ, said Pakistan.

India has been maintaining that the trial of Jadhav by a military court in Pakistan was “farcical”.

Pakistan claims that its security forces arrested Jadhav from restive Balochistan province on March 3, 2016 after he reportedly entered from Iran.

However, India maintains that Jadhav was kidnapped from Iran where he had business interests after retiring from the Navy.

Jadhav’s sentencing had evoked a sharp reaction in India.

India had approached the ICJ for “egregious” violation of the provisions of the 1963 Vienna convention on consular relations by Pakistan in Jadhav’s case.

(Reuters)

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