Pak rejects India’s assertion of pressurising Kulbhushan Jadhav’s lawyer
Pakistan has rejected as “incorrect and misleading” India’s assertion that its security establishment was putting pressure on a Pakistani lawyer engaged by the Indian High Commission to represent death row prisoner Kulbhushan Jadhav during a court hearing.
On Thursday, external Affairs spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said Pakistan was linking up the Jadhav case with an unrelated case of another Indian prisoner, who had served his sentence but is still in Pakistan.
“Pakistan is trying to link the case of Kulbhuashan Jadhav with another prisoner’s case. In routine consular practice, Shahnawaz Noon [the Pakistani lawyer] was selected by our High Commission to appear in the case for release and repatriation of an Indian prisoner, Mohammad Ismail, who has completed his sentence but continues to be in jail in Pakistan,” Srivastava said at a weekly briefing.
“However, during the proceedings of the case regarding Ismail, Pakistan Attorney General raised the matter pertaining to Jadhav though the two cases are not connected in any way, and Noon is reported to have made those statements about our Charge d’Affaires which are not true, and they are in contravention of our stand in this case,” he added.
Srivastava said Noon did this under pressure and has misrepresented the position of the High Commission.
But in a statement issued on Friday, the Pakistan Foreign Office said that, by casting aspersions on the Indian High Commission’s own legal counsel, the Indian government “is looking for an escape from the legal proceedings” the Jadhav case.
“The government of India is reminded that in pursuance of the judgment of International Court of Justice (ICJ), Pakistan had invited the Indian High Commission to meet with Commander Jadhav and appoint a lawyer on his behalf so that proceedings to review and reconsider Commander Jadhav’s conviction could commence.
“However, during the course of diplomatic exchanges, the Indian High Commission refused to instruct a lawyer itself, as in their view this would amount to a waiver of India’s sovereign immunity. Resultantly, the government of Pakistan was constrained to initiate proceedings for appointment of a state counsel for Commander Jadhav,” the statement said.
It added: “During the course of the proceedings, to show the discrepancy in the Indian position,the Attorney-General for Pakistan cited the case of Mr Muhammad Ismail, an Indian national currently in custody in Pakistan, where the Indian High Commission had instructed Mr Noon as its lawyer.”
No attempt was made to link the cases of Jadhav with Indian prisoner Ismail, Pakistan said, adding that the two cases are and remain entirely distinct. “Reference to the case of Mr Ismail was only for purpose of showing the discrepancy and inconsistency in the Indian position.”
The statement reiterated that in line with the judgment of the ICJ, Pakistan has already provided consular access to the Indian High Commission twice and has taken all necessary steps for effective review and reconsideration in the case.The offer of a third consular access is still there.
“The Indian side is once again urged to desist from the use of its usual diversionary and dilatory tactics and instead take practical steps so that legal proceedings could be duly concluded and full effect could be given to the judgment of ICJ,” the statement said.