Disappointed With 'Weak' Arguments, Ruling: How Pakistan Reacted to ICJ Verdict on Kulbhushan Jadhav

“We based our case on jurisdiction and it proved weak.”

New Delhi: The decision of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on May 18 to stay Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav’s death sentence has led to “shock and disappointment” in Pakistan.

Rejecting Pakistan’s argument that the court did not have jurisdiction in the matter, ICJ said that Pakistan must take all measures at its disposal to ensure that Jadhav is not executed before the final settlement of the case at the international court.

While the office of the Attorney General Ashtar Ausaf Ali responded to the ruling by saying that “as far as Pakistan is concerned, the court’s decision today has not changed the status of commander Jadhav’s case in any manner,” according to Dawn, Pakistani analysts and observers have labelled the jurisdiction argument as “weak” and “damaging.”

The Pakistan daily quoted senior PPP leader Sherry Rehman as saying that espionage should have been the focus of the arguments. “We based our case on jurisdiction and it proved weak.”

The arguments for Pakistan had been presented on Monday, May 15, in an emergency hearing organised on India’s appeal. According to a PTI report, Pakistani representatives had argued that there has been no response from India on Pakistan’s accusations on Jadhav “who has confessed to having been sent by India to wage terror on the innocent civilians and infrastructure of Pakistan.”

Khawar Qureshi, who led Pakistan’s arguments, said that the ICJ is not a criminal court and can thus not give a decision on cases relating to national security.

Pakistan had further argued that the provisions of the Vienna Convention did not apply to a “spy involved in terror activities”.

Former Attorney General Irfan Qadir, according to a Dawn report, blamed the lack of experience of the lawyers who handled the case for the ICJ ruling. “We need a dedicated team for Pakistan, loyal to the country,” Qadir said. “Pakistan’s jurisprudence has been ruined because of this.”

Also watch: Kulbhushan Jadhav: Why the ICJ Ruled in India’s Favour

Criticising the ICJ order, retired Justice Shaiq Usmani reiterated Pakistan’s argument that the UN’s top court does not have jurisdiction and that Pakistan made a mistake by appearing there. “They have shot themselves in the foot,” Usmani told DawnNews

Urdu television channel Dunya News, on the other hand, quoted lawyer and columnist Yasser Latif Hamdani as saying that the ICJ decision was “exactly in accordance with the expectations,” and that the country should have provided Jadhav with consular access from the very beginning.

According to Yasser, the case, however, would benefit Pakistan more in the long run, since it is the smaller party. “India had now used a multilateral forum and it can’t back away from it tomorrow on similar grounds.”

According to the Express Tribune, in a statement issued on the ICJ order the attorney general’s office has said that Jadhav still has “ample” time to petition for clemency and that that country is “determined to pursue this case to its logical end.”

(With PTI inputs)