ISLAMABAD – Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s foreign affairs adviser Sartaj Aziz has said that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) hasn’t given any order regarding consular access for Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav.
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“Pakistan’s position in the ICJ case against Kulbushan Jadhav in relation to merit and jurisdiction is very strong and will only further strengthen,” Aziz said while speaking to media representatives in Islamabad on Saturday.
“India’s view that it has won this case is only timely because our position will only strengthen on the matter of jurisdiction and merit.”
Aziz said it must be noted that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) has made no pronouncement on the issues of merit and jurisdiction.
“The ICJ has only asked Pakistan to keep a stay on Jadhav’s execution until it arrives at a decision,” the senior diplomat said, explaining that when it comes to cases involving the death penalty, the international court has always given a stay order.
He said the ICJ has not decided on consular access either and has only intimated that the matter will come under discussion.
Aziz said that not only was Jadhav an Indian citizen, he was in fact an officer in the Indian Navy who has also admitted to carrying out espionage activities in Pakistan.
Responding to questions in relation to the legal team representing Pakistan, Aziz said Pakistan had “only five days to prepare for the appearance…the decision to send Khawar Qureshi was a unanimous one”.
“Everyone was satisfied with his arguments. Some are saying that we had 90 minutes, why we used only 50 – a substantive argument can be given in only 10 minutes.”
However, he said that Pakistan will further strengthen its legal team and that it will go forward into the case with full preparation.
On Thursday, the ICJ unanimously stayed Pakistan’s execution of Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav until it rules on the merits of the case.
The ICJ ruled that there is the possibility of “irrevocable prejudice to the rights of Jadhav. In its plea to the court, India had expressed the fear that Jadhav might be executed even while the hearing at the ICJ was on.
“We will go with a strong team in the next hearing,” Aziz added.
Kulbushan Jadhav was arrested on March 3, 2016, through a counter-intelligence operation in Balochistan’s Mashkel area for his involvement in espionage and sabotage activities against Pakistan. He was subsequently sentenced to death by a Pakistani Field General Court Martial (FGCM) in April this year.
India had termed the death sentence awarded to Jadhav “an act of premeditated murder.” It then moved the matter to the ICJ, hoping to get the court to rule the FGCM’s decision “illegal” and to get a stay order on the execution. On May 18, the ICJ restrained Pakistan from executing convicted Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav until a final verdict in the case.