Pakistan asks ICJ for early hearing in Kulbhushan Jadhav case: Report
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Pakistan asks ICJ for early hearing in Kulbhushan Jadhav case: Report

The United Nations’ highest court had directed Pakistan to stay the execution of Kulbhushan Jadhav, given capital punishment by a military court for alleged involvement in espionage and terrorism, till it gave its final decision on India’s petition to annul his death sentence.

india Updated: May 28, 2017 12:39 IST
Imtiaz Ahmad
Imtiaz Ahmad
Hindustan Times, Islamabad
Kulbhushan Jadhav,International Court of Justice,ICJ order
This file photo shows Pakistani journalists watching a video showing Indian national Kulbhushan Yadav, arrested on suspicion of spying, during a press conference in Islamabad.(AFP File Photo)

Pakistan has asked the International Court of Justice to hold an early hearing in the case of Kulbhushan Jadhav, according to a report in the Pakistani media on Tuesday.

The move is in line with a statement made earlier by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s advisor on foreign affairs, Sartaj Aziz, who told media persons that Pakistan was keen that the hearing of the case starts at its earliest.

The Express Tribune reported that the foreign office had sent a letter to the Hague-based ICJ’s registrar, expressing Pakistan’s desire for a quick hearing, preferably over the next few weeks.

The request was made in view of the elections for ICJ judges in November, it quoted the sources as saying.

A senior official, however, was quoted as saying that the ICJ might resume the hearing in the case in October.

“The government (however) wants the hearing (to be held in the) next six weeks,” he said.

Pakistan’s attorney general Ashtar Ausaf Ali is expected to attend the ICJ proceedings. The federal government, however, has not taken any decision about replacing Pakistan’s attorney Khawar Quraishi.

“His performance is satisfactory...He raised all (relevant) legal points during the hearing,” a senior official of the law ministry was quoted as saying.

Sartaj Aziz had also expressed satisfaction with Qureshi.

However, new reports have surfaced suggesting that Qureshi represented India in a case some years ago and these have not been well-received in Pakistan.

The newspaper report, citing sources, also said the government was considering a few names for nominating them for the post of ad hoc ICJ judge. The name of a senior lawyer was also under consideration, it said.

Legal experts have questioned why Pakistan wants to appoint a foreigner as an ad hoc judge when every state prefers to nominate its own lawyers, the report said.

They are calling on the attorney-general’s office to consult local lawyers before finalising a legal strategy in this regard, it said.

A senior lawyer, with vast experience of international arbitration, was quoted as saying that it was necessary to revamp the legal wing of the Foreign Office because it failed to give proper advice to deal with Jadhav’s case.

Pakistan Bar Council’s (PBC) executive member Raheel Kamran Sheikh expressed concern over Pakistan’s dismal success rate in international arbitration at just 2%.

He pointed out that “India’s success rate was 60%”.

“We have lost important cases at international forums over the past couple of years, while spending more than a billion rupees in lawyers’ fees,” he said.

According to Sheikh, the mishandling of Jadhav’s case was a classic example of how the power struggle between military and political institutions played out and gaps in foreign policy and national security perspectives grew.

The report comes just days after ICJ stayed Jadhav’s execution and also endorsed the Indian request for consular access to him. Jadhav was sentenced to death by a secret military court in Pakistan.

India on May 8 moved the ICJ against the death penalty handed.

“State may suffer irreparable damage if gaps are not immediately the national interest by both centres of power,” Sheikh said.

A senior official in the attorney-general’s office was quoted as saying that although India got the stay on Jadhav’s execution, ultimately Pakistan would win the case.

“We are in no hurry to execute him (Jadhav) as he is making more disclosures,” he claimed.

Jadhav’s case is the latest flashpoint in the tensions between Pakistan and India. The two countries last faced off at the ICJ 18 years ago when Islamabad sought its intervention over the shooting down of its naval aircraft.

First Published: May 23, 2017 13:33 IST