Friends of former Indian naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav celebrate the International Court of Justice order on Thursday.(AP Photo)
Friends of former Indian naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav celebrate the International Court of Justice order on Thursday.(AP Photo)

ICJ stay on Jadhav hanging: Pakistan says will take case to ‘logical end’

Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson Nafees Zakaria hit out at India, saying the country has been “trying to hide its real face” by taking Kulbhushan Jadhav’s case to the International Court of Justice.
By Imtiaz Ahmad | Hindustan Times, Islamabad
UPDATED ON MAY 18, 2017 11:30 PM IST

Pakistan on Thursday reacted to the International Court of Justice’s order not to execute Kulbhushan Jadhav, the Indian national convicted of espionage and terrorism, by saying it is determined to pursue the case to its “logical end”.

Foreign Office spokesman Nafees Zakaria said Pakistan had already made it clear it doesn’t accept the United Nations’ highest court’s jurisdiction in national security matters. The attorney general contended the ICJ’s order amounted to maintaining the “status quo” in Jadhav’s case.

The two officials reacted after The Hague-based ICJ ordered Pakistan not to execute Jadhav, 46, till it gives a final decision on India’s petition to annul his death sentence. The ICJ also rejected Pakistan’s stance that it does not have the jurisdiction to take up the case.

A statement from the attorney general’s office said the ICJ wanted “the status quo (to) be maintained” in Jadhav’s case and the provisional measures were “without prejudice to the final determination” of the case.

Pakistan attended the hearing at the ICJ “because of its conviction that the only way to resolve all outstanding issues is through peaceful means”, it said.

Pakistan had also assured the ICJ that Jadhav “would be provided every opportunity and remedy available under the law to defend his case” and he “still has ample time to petition for clemency”, the statement said. “We are determined to pursue this case to its logical end,” it added.

Talking to state-run Pakistan Television after the order was issued, Zakaria said India was “trying to hide its real face” by taking Jadhav’s case to the ICJ. “The real face of India will be exposed before the world,” he said, adding Jadhav had “confessed” to his involvement in sabotage, terrorism and subversive activities.

Zakaria also told Dunya TV channel Pakistan does not accept the ICJ’s jurisdiction in matters related to national security. Pakistan, he added, “will present solid evidence against the Indian spy in the international court”.

Earlier, he told a weekly news briefing said India was trying to portray Jadhav’s case “as a humanitarian issue to divert the world’s attention from his role in fomenting terrorism”.

Pakistan says Jadhav was arrested in March last year in the restive Balochistan province. In April, a military court sentenced him to death for alleged involvement in spying and subversive activities. India has contended he was kidnapped from the Iranian port of Chabahar and his secret trial was a “farce”.

Analysts and observers blamed Pakistan’s legal team for the setback caused by the ICJ’s order. Some argued Pakistan was unable to present its case forcefully because of its weak legal team and others said the country should not even have appeared at the World Court.

Former attorney general Irfan Qadir said he was shocked by the decision. “I think this decision is a violation of the principle of natural justice. I am shocked as to why Pakistan went there and presented their position and gave it in such a rush,” he said.

Shaiq Usmani, a retired judge of the Supreme Court, told a newspaper the decision was alarming because the “ICJ does not have jurisdiction”. He said, “It is Pakistan’s mistake to have appeared there. They shouldn’t have attended. They have shot themselves in the foot.”

He added, “Until the ICJ gives it verdict, the case will go on in Pakistan. But (Jadhav) cannot be executed until the stay order is there.”

London-based barrister Rashid Aslam said Pakistan was ill-prepared and did not make full use of the 90 minutes it had to make its argument at the ICJ. He contended that under the Vienna Convention, a spy’s human rights are forfeited.

Lawyer Faisal Siddiqi said the issue was one of consular access “which Pakistan should have given in the first place”.

Another lawyer, Farogh Nasim, said Pakistan should not have conceded to the ICJ’s jurisdiction. “India did not give consent to the Kashmir issue going to the ICJ, then why did Pakistan give consent to the Jadhav case?”

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