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India uncertain if Pak considering mother’s appeal against Jadhav execution

Kulbhushan Jadhav was charged with spying and subversive activities by a military court in Pakistan.

india Updated: May 20, 2017 00:10 IST
Rezaul H Laskar and Ashok Bagriya
Rezaul H Laskar and Ashok Bagriya
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Kulbhushan Jadhav,ICJ,India
People with posters of Kulbhushan Jadhav celebrate the International Court of Justice’s stay on his execution in Mumbai on Thursday.(Prashant Waydande/HT Photo)

With just a day to go for the expiry of a 40-day deadline to challenge the death sentence given to Kulbhushan Jadhav, Indian officials said on Friday they do not know if Pakistani military authorities are even considering an appeal submitted by the former Indian navy officer’s mother.

Indian high commissioner Gautam Bambawale handed over two appeals from Jadhav’s mother – one to the Pakistan Army’s court of appeal against the death sentence, and another asking the Pakistan government to free Jadhav – when he met Pakistan’s foreign secretary Tehmina Janjua in Islamabad on April 26.

According to an official statement issued by Pakistan’s foreign policy chief Sartaj Aziz last month, Jadhav was sentenced to death for alleged involvement in terrorism and espionage on April 10. The statement added he had the right to appeal to an army appellate court within 40 days.

“We had submitted the appeals filed by his mother to Pakistan’s foreign ministry. But there is no information on whether these appeals have been received by the authorities concerned and if any action is being taken on them,” an Indian government source told Hindustan Times.

A source pointed out that while the deadline would expire on May 20, Friday is the last working day for the appeal to be taken up.

Even if the Pakistani appellate court rejects Jadhav’s appeal, he has two more opportunities to challenge the death sentence – he can file a mercy petition to the Pakistan Army chief within 60 days of the appellate court’s decision, and he can file another mercy petition with the president within 90 days of the army chief deciding on his appeal.

Despite several requests, the Indian government has also not been provided the first information report (FIR), charge-sheet, or a copy of the Pakistani military court’s verdict against 46-year-old Jadhav.

On Thursday, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ordered Pakistan to stay the execution until it issued a final ruling on India’s petition to annul the death sentence.

The UN’s highest court rejected Pakistan’s argument that it had no jurisdiction in Jadhav’s case as it involved national security issues and accepted India’s contention about the urgency of the matter. The ICJ notes that Pakistan had given no assurance Jadhav would not be executed before the court gives its final decision.

A statement issued by Pakistan’s attorney general in response to the ICJ’s order said the status of Jadhav’s case had not changed “in any manner”. It added that Pakistan is determined to take the case to its “logical end” and that Jadhav “has ample time to petition for clemency”.

Shaiq Usmani, a retired judge of Pakistan’s Supreme Court, told the media that Jadhav’s case will go on in Pakistan until the ICJ gives it final decision. “But (Jadhav) cannot be executed until the stay order is there,” Usmani said.

First Published: May 19, 2017 15:04 IST