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Kulbhushan Jadhav case: Pakistan to nominate ad-hoc judge for ICJ panel

The International Court of Justice in The Hague restrained Pakistan in May from executing the death sentence given to Kulbhushan Jadhav by a military court.

world Updated: Aug 15, 2017 16:26 IST
Imtiaz Ahmad
Imtiaz Ahmad
Hindustan Times, Islamabad
Kulbhushan Jadhav,Pakistan,International Court of Justice
Former Indian naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of espionage, but the International Court of Justice stayed the sentence.(PTI)

The Pakistan government has begun consultations on nominating an ad-hoc judge to the panel of the International Court of Justice hearing the Kulbhushan Jadhav case, according to a media report.

Government functionaries are considering several candidates for nomination as the ad-hoc judge, including former chief justice Tassaduq Hussain Jilani and former Jordanian premier Awn Shawkat Al-Khasawneh, The Express Tribune reported.

During the tenure of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, former Supreme Court judge Khalilur Rehman Ramday was approached for the position but he declined the nomination.

The attorney general for Pakistan’s office has now recommended the names of senior lawyer Makhdoom Ali Khan, Jilani and Al-Khasawneh to the Prime Minister’s Secretariat for the nomination of the ad-hoc judge.

Khan, who is seen as the favourite for the job, has experience in international arbitration cases as he has represented eight countries in international courts. Al-Khasawneh served as an ICJ judge for more than a decade,

Only one person has previously been appointed as an ICJ judge in Pakistan’s history – former foreign minister Zafarullah Khan, who was appointed in 1954 and later became president of the court.

Leading lawyers Yaqub Ali Khan and Sharifuddin Pirzada served as ad-hoc judges, as did Zafarullah Khan.

The nomination of the ad-hoc judge will be finalised after getting inputs from the Foreign Office and the military establishment, the report said.

Pakistan began considering the appointment of an ad hoc judge because an Indian judge is part of the 12-member tribunal hearing Jadhav‘s case.

Dalveer Bhandari, a former Supreme Court judge, is part of the panel that directed Pakistan in May to stay the execution of Jadhav, a 46-year-old former Indian Navy officer sentenced to death by a military court for alleged involvement in espionage and terrorism.

Article 31 of the ICJ’s statute states that if the panel includes “a judge of the nationality of one of the parties, (the other) party may choose a person to sit as judge”. An ad hoc judge can also be chosen if the panel includes “no judge of the nationality of the parties”.

The ICJ has ordered Pakistan not to execute Jadhav till it gives a final decision on India’s petition to annul his death sentence.

Pakistan says Jadhav was arrested in March last year in the restive Balochistan province. After he was sentenced to death in April this year, India contended he was kidnapped from the Iranian port of Chabahar and his secret trial was a “farce”.

First Published: Aug 15, 2017 14:20 IST