Kulbhushan Jadhav can now appeal against conviction as Pakistan passes bill
Pakistan's parliament has approved a bill allowing Kulbhushan Jadhav, the former Indian Navy officer on death row over espionage charges, to appeal his conviction in the high courts of the country, according to news agency ANI. The bill seeks to provide further right of review and reconsideration in giving effect to the judgment of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), according to ANI.
Pakistan claims that Kulbhushan Jadhav was arrested from Balochistan in 2016 and charged him with espionage and sentenced to death by a military court the following year. India has rejected Pakistan's allegations against Jadhav and said he was kidnapped by Pakistani operatives from the Iranian port of Chabahar, where he was running a business. The ICJ stayed Jadhav’s execution in 2018.
The bill was adopted by Pakistan’s lower house, National Assembly, on Thursday after approval from the 21-member standing committee and has been named 'International Court of Justice (Review and Re-consideration) Act. The act will extend to the whole of Pakistan and shall "come into force at once". Before this, the Pakistan government brought an ordinance in the National Assembly in view of the ICJ's ruling in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case.
According to the bill, the high court has the power to review and reconsider where the ICJ in relation to a foreign national passes an order in respect of rights under the Vienna Convention of Consular Relations or a foreign national is aggrieved in respect of the rights available under the same.
A foreign national can now, either himself, through his representative or through a consular officer of a mission of his country file a petition before a high court for review and reconsideration in regard to an order of conviction or sentence of a military court operating under the Pakistan army, 1952.
Earlier this year, a larger bench of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) resumed hearing of the case related to Jadhav and four other Indian prisoners who were under detention even after completion of their respective sentences.
The ministry of external affairs (MEA) inJanuary this year criticised Pakistan for not acting upon the ICJ's 2019 judgment, which upheld India's claim of the Pakistani regime committing the grievous violation of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations on several counts regarding Jadhav. India has also slammed Pakistan for failing to provide consular access to Jadhav.
(With ANI inputs)