THE HAGUE -The UN’s top court will rule on Thursday (today) on an urgent bid by India to stop Pakistan from carrying out a death sentence on one of its nationals convicted of spying.
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The International Court of Justice (ICJ) is set to announce its verdict in an Indian spy case at around 4:00 pm (PST) and 3:30 pm on (IST) today (May 18, 2017).
The UN’s top court is to decide on an Indian appeal for suspending Pakistan’s planned execution of the Kulbhushan Jadhav, saying his rights had been violated by Islamabad, the NDTV reported on Wednesday.
The ICJ had on Monday reserved its verdict after hearing viewpoints of both Pakistan and India on the conviction of Jadhav, who was sentenced to death by a Field General Court Martial (FGCM) last month.
Pakistan challenged the jurisdiction of the ICJ to hear the Indian application regarding the conviction of spy Kulbhushan Jadhav by Pakistan.
Director General (South Asia and Saarc) Dr Muhammad Faisal told the court that under Vienna Convention the ICJ could not take up this case. Ambassador Moazzam Ahmad Khan, Dr Muhammad Faisal and Syed Faraz Hussain were present at the Peace Palace as members of Pakistan’s legal team.
Dr Faisal further said the Indian spy was sentenced to death after fulfilling all necessary legal procedures and that he [Jadhav] was also provided the services of a counsel to defend allegations against him.
Supreme Court lawyers Khawar Qureshi, Asad Raheem Khan and Joseph Decky were also present.
Presenting its arguments before the court, Pakistan maintained that the ICJ did not have jurisdiction to hear the Indian application, Radio Pakistan reported.
He further said the Indian spy was sentenced to death after fulfilling all necessary legal procedures and that he was also given legal counsel to defend the allegations against him.
Faisal also showed the court a picture of a passport which he said was found in Jadhav’s possession bearing a completely different “and Muslim” name.
“India has been unable, or perhaps unwilling, to provide an explanation for this passport which is the most obvious indication of covert and illegal activity,” added Faisal.
Lawyer Khawar Qureshi, appearing for Pakistan, earlier argued that: “The ICJ is not a criminal court and cannot decide such type of cases relating to national security.”
The counsel for Pakistan also said that the provisions of the Vienna Convention do not apply to a “spy involved in terror activities”.
Qureshi said that Jadhav “is a terrorist” and “India invoked the jurisdiction of this court improperly.”
“This court exists to ensure that states engage in peaceful resolution of disputes. This court does not exist for time-wasting and political grandstanding,” he maintained.
“India’s allegation regarding the kidnapping of its spy is not true and he [Jadhav] was arrested by Pakistani forces from Balochistan,” he maintained.
India had appealed to the UN’s top court to order Pakistan to suspend its planned execution of Jadhav, saying his rights had been violated by Islamabad.
Harish Salve, leading the Indian legal team, had focused his arguments on Pakistan’s denial of consular access to Jadhav as he presented India’s case before the judicial body.
“The situation in which we find ourselves is grave and it is urgent,” Salve said. “India has made innumerable requests since March 2016 for consular access.”
But Pakistani representatives told the court Jadhav “has confessed to having been sent by India to wage terror on the innocent civilians and infrastructure of Pakistan”.
Deepak Mittal, joint secretary of India’s Ministry of External Affairs, told judges at the ICJ that Jadhav’s death sentence was handed down following a “farcical” trial.
Jadhav was “an innocent Indian national, who, incarcerated in Pakistan for more than a year on concocted charges, deprived of his rights and protection accorded under the Vienna Convention, has been held incommunicado … and faces imminent execution,” Mittal told the tribunal.
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 sentenced to death by the FGCM in April this year.
India had termed the death sentence awarded to Jadhav “an act of premeditated murder,” while maintaining that Jadhav was a retired officer of the Indian Navy.
India has further claimed that Jadhav was kidnapped from Iran where he was involved in a business undertaking.