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Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif meets army chief Bajwa after ICJ stay on Kulbhushan Jadhav’s hanging

The International Court of Justice, the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, has put a stay on the death sentence given by Pakistan to Kulbhushan Jadhav on charges of spying.

india Updated: May 10, 2017 22:02 IST
Imtiaz Ahmad
Imtiaz Ahmad
Hindustan Times, Islamabad
Kulbhushan Jadhav,Nawaz Sharif,Pakistan Army
Pakistan Nawaz Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif held a meeting with army chief Gen Qamar Bajwa a day after the International Court of Justice stayed the hanging of Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav by Pakistan.(AFP File Photo)

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and army chief Gen Qamar Bajwa on Wednesday discussed the case of Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav, sentenced to death by a military court for alleged espionage, against the backdrop of the International Court of Justice staying his execution.

Officials refused to comment on the meeting between Bajwa and Sharif, their second within a week, and a statement from the Prime Minister’s House said the army chief “briefed the premier on the current security situation in the country”.

The focus of the meeting was “Dawn Leaks” – the row created by a report in the Dawn newspaper about the army’s reluctance to act against certain militant groups – but officials privately noted that the leaders met hours after the ICJ stayed the execution of Jadhav.

Geo News channel reported that Sharif was briefed on the ICJ’s order. Bajwa was accompanied by Inter-Services Intelligence chief Lt Gen Naveed Mukhtar and finance minister Ishaq Dar too was present at the meeting.

Reacting to the ICJ’s order, Sartaj Aziz, adviser on foreign affairs to Sharif, told the media: “We are analysing the Indian petition and the International Court of Justice’s authority (in the case).”

Earlier, defence minister Khawaja Asif said India’s decision to approach the ICJ was an attempt to divert attention from “state-sponsored terrorism”. He tweeted: “Indian letter to ICJ attempt to divert attention from state-sponsored terrorism in Pakistan. Kulbhushan convicted of offences against national security.”

According to the statement from the Prime Minister’s House, Bajwa also discussed matters related to the professional preparedness of the army and the border situation. Sharif was apprised on Raad-ul-Fasaad, the ongoing security operation in the country.

Jadhav was arrested on March 3, 2016 during a counter-intelligence operation in Mashkel area of Balochistan province for his alleged involvement in espionage and subversive activities against Pakistan, the military’s media arm has said.

Though Jadhav was provided a defending officer in line with legal provisions during his trial by a military court, Pakistan turned down 16 requests from India seeking consular access to the former navy officer because of his alleged involvement in “subversive activities”.

Jadhav was tried under provisions of the Pakistan Army Act and the Official Secrets Act. Pakistan has said he confessed before a magistrate that he was asked to plan, coordinate and organise espionage and sabotage activities to destabilise and wage war against Pakistan.

He has 40 days to appeal against the military court’s verdict in an army court of appeal. In case the court of appeal upholds the sentence, Jadhav can seek mercy from the army chief and the president of Pakistan.

First Published: May 10, 2017 17:23 IST