Pak files plea seeking a lawyer for JadhavUpdated: Jul 22, 2020 23:56 IST
Islamabad: The Pakistani government on Wednesday filed a petition in the Islamabad high court seeking a lawyer for former Indian naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav to file a review petition against the death sentence awarded to him for alleged espionage.
This comes days after India said two Indian officials, who met Jadhav on Thursday last when Pakistan provided second consular access to him since he was detained in March 2016, could not engage him on his legal rights. India said the two were prevented from obtaining Jadhav’s written consent for arranging his legal representation.
In its petition, the Pakistani government submitted Jadhav, 50, has refused to engage a lawyer and file a petition. It added it is in “the national interest” that a legal representative is appointed on behalf of Jadhav for the review of his conviction and sentence, and for Pakistan to comply with the International Court of Justice (ICJ)’s order.
The ICJ last year ordered Pakistan to provide consular access to Jadhav and review his death sentence by a Pakistani military tribunal. A Pakistani ordinance, promulgated ostensibly to comply with ICJ’s order, envisages an Indian consular official filing the review petition.
The Pakistan government cited the ordinance and said Jhadav has a short period of time left to file an appeal. So far, neither Jadhav nor the Indian government, through its high commission in Islamabad, have filed a petition, it added.
The two Indian officials on Thursday last met Jadhav to discuss filing the review petition in the high court against his death sentence.
The meeting ended inconclusively with New Delhi accusing Islamabad of breaching its assurance of providing unimpeded access to Jadhav. The ministry of external affairs said when two Indian consular officials went to meet him, they found Pakistani officials with “an intimidating demeanour” near Jadhav and a camera being used to record the conversation. It added Pakistan’s “obstructive and insincere” approach during the meeting violated its assurance to the ICJ to implement the 2019 judgment. India said Pakistan has also failed to act in accordance with its own ordinance.
Pakistan on Thursday reiterated its accusations that Jadhav was arrested in Balochistan in March 2016, and “confessed” to his involvement in terror activities. India has dismissed such charges and said he was kidnapped by Pakistani intelligence operatives from Iran’s Chabahar port, where he was running a business.
ICJ ruled in July 2019 that Pakistan had violated Jadhav’s rights under the Vienna Convention. It stayed his execution and called on Islamabad to take all steps for an “effective review and reconsideration” of his sentence, including “enacting appropriate legislation”.