Pakistan using Kulbhushan Jadhav to divert international scrutiny: India at ICJ
Making the second and final round of oral arguments at the UN’s highest court in the Hague, India’s lawyer Harish Salve said Pakistan was using the Kulbhushan Jadhav case “as a pawn and a convenient tool” to divert attention from its policy of sponsoring terror.Updated: Feb 21, 2019 00:13 IST
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
India raised the Pulwama terror attack at the hearing of Kulbhushan Jadhav’s case at the International Court of Justice on Thursday to highlight Pakistan’s conduct in aiding and sponsoring terrorist activities from its soil.
Making the second and final round of oral arguments at the UN’s highest court in the Hague, India’s lawyer Harish Salve said Pakistan was using the case “as a pawn and a convenient tool” to divert attention from its policy of sponsoring terror.
“Pakistan is used as a safe haven by proscribed groups like al-Qaeda and Jaish-e-Mohammed and individuals like Hafiz Saeed and Dawood Ibrahim. Over 20 proscribed entities are associated with Pakistan,” Salve argued.
Jadhav, a 48-year-old former navy officer, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court in 2017 for alleged involvement in espionage and subversive activities. The ICJ had stayed Jadhav’s execution last year after it was petitioned by India.
The hearing at the Hague follows India’s petition that said Pakistan had deliberately denied consular access to Jadhav despite being under an international obligation to do so. This was a violation of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, India has argued. Rebutting Islamabad’s suggestion that there are sufficient safeguards under Pakistani law to give remedy to Jadhav, Salve said, “It is hopelessly insufficient as there is only a limited area of appeal permitted under the Pakistani Constitution.”
Salve stressed on the 15-judge bench hearing the case that Pakistan, despite making tall claims about its judicial system, has “been reticent to share the judgment of the military court convicting Jadhav and has also not disclosed the offences for which Jadhav was convicted”.
He also attacked the military court system and the process followed by it in trying a civilian such as Jadhav and convicting him. “Pakistan had nothing beyond the confessional statement of Jadhav, there is no detail of specific activity to show Jadhav’s involvement in any subversive activity in Pakistan,” he argued.
Fending off Pakistan’s argument on Jadhav’s nationality, Salve reiterated he is an Indian national and it is Pakistan that disowns or denies the nationality of individuals who indulge in terrorist acts.Salve also said any bilateral agreement or customary international law cannot override the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. Concluding his submissions in the case, he asserted the remedy of review or reconsideration under the Pakistani law, as suggested by Pakistan, would be a chimera.
Making the concluding observations before the ICJ bench, India’s agent, Deepak Mittal, joint secretary in the external affairs ministry, said “Pakistan’s action (should) be declared as a breach of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations” and Jadhav should be released and his safe passage to India facilitated.
Mittal also told the court that in case it is against the release of Jadhav, “ICJ should annul the decision of the military court and direct a fresh trial in an ordinary court and drop the confessional statement”.
Pakistan will make its final round of oral arguments at the ICJ on Thursday. The court is expected to give its ruling after several months.
First Published: Feb 20, 2019 23:32 IST