By Asghar Ali Mubarak
ISLAMABAD: The deadline that was given by Islamabad High Court (IHC) to Indian government for the appointment of legal representative for its spy and agent of intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) Kulbhushan Jadhav on Tuesday expired.
According to details, the neighboring country has not allotted any lawyer to Jadhav so far. Sources said that Foreign Office had sent a letter to the Indian High Commission on the orders of the IHC.
On July 17, 2019, the ICJ had rejected remedies sought by India, including annulment of military court decision convicting Kulbhushan Jadhav, his release and safe passage to India.
Announcing the verdict Judge Abdulqavi Ahmed Yousaf told Pakistan to review the death sentence for an alleged Indian spy, saying Islamabad violated his rights to consular visits. The court, in its verdict, rejected a number of Indian demands including cancellation of military court decision convicting Jadhav, his release and safe passage to India. The ICJ found that Pakistan deprived India of the right to communicate with and have access to Kulbhushan Jadhav, to visit him in detention and to arrange for his legal representation, and thereby breached obligations incumbent upon it under Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.
The tribunal in The Hague ordered an “effective review and reconsideration of the conviction and sentence of Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav”. The judge remarked that Pakistan and India are signatories of the Vienna Convention. “A continued stay of execution constitutes an indispensable condition for the effective review and reconsideration of the conviction and sentence of Mr Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav,” it ruled. The court while finding Jadhav guilty of committing terrorist activities inside Pakistan, ordered that the Indian spy cannot be handed over to India. Kulbhushan will remain in Pakistan’s custody, it ruled.
Pakistani team headed by the attorney general was present in the courtroom. The team also included then Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Muhammad Faisal.Government arrested Jadhav alias Hussein Mubarak Patel in the province of Balochistan on charges of terrorism and spying for India‘s intelligence agency, the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW).
Agencies add: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has given an opportunity to India for appointing a lawyer for the arrested spy Kulbhushan Jadhav. A larger bench of the high court headed by Chief Justice Athar Minallah, Justice Amir Farooq, and Justice Mian Gull Hassan Aurangzeb heard the case related to the appointment of defence lawyer for Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav.
Attorney General of Pakistan Khalid Jawed Khan and senior lawyer Hamid Khan appeared in the hearing as amici curiae, whereas, Makhdoom Ali Khan and Abid Hassan Manto recused themselves to assist to the court in the case.
CJ IHC Justice Athar Minallah questioned AGP Khalid Jawed Khan regarding the progress in the case. He told the court that the foreign ministry contacted the India’s ministry for external affairs where the New Delhi expressed unseriousness over the matters related to Kulbhushan Jadhav. The attorney general added that a representative of the Indian embassy had also been contacted in this regards, however, they showed unwillingness to appoint counsel for Jadhav. The Indian government blamed Pakistani authorities for not giving a meaningful consular access, said Khan.
He said the Indian government restricted itself to launch political statements against Pakistan and seemingly not worried for the sentence of Kulbhushan Jadhav nor it is willing to defend its spy in the case. The Pakistani authorities apprised Jadhav regarding the court directives besides passing an ordinance to give opportunity to the Indian spy for appointing a counsel, said attorney general. Khalid Jawed Khan read the ordinance in the courtroom which stated that India had been sent a letter on September 4, 2020. In a response letter on September 7, 2020, India raised four objections against the ordinance passed by the Pakistan’s parliament; consular access to Jadhav; granting permission to appoint a lawyer from foreign country and taking up the issue of India’s sovereignty to appear in a Pakistani court. He said that the Indian government had also blamed Pakistan for giving an impression to facilitate Kulbhushan Jadhav through the ordinance but the legal procedures were unclear. The Indian authorities have been responded that the court will clarify the legal procedures, he added.
India could contact the court for getting the related documents, however, their response shows unwillingness to run away from the legal proceedings against Kulbhushan Jadhav, said Khalid Jawed Khan.
“The federal government is asking for the appointment of a counsel for Kulbhushan, on the other hand, India is giving an impression for the violation of the verdict announced by International Court of Justice (ICJ). India has been given a full opportunity to appoint its representative in the court as Pakistan is willing to hold a transparent trial of Kulbhushan Jadhav.”
The IHC chief justice remarked that the amici curiae should assist to court regarding the previous rulings of the international court in the same genre of cases. The basic motive is to ensure a meaningful implementation of the ICJ’s verdict in the case, he added. Justice Minallah remarked that India could contact directly to the court by filing a plea besides sending its representative in the case.
Later, the court adjourned the hearing till November 9. Kulbhushan Jadhav has been in Pakistan’s custody following his arrest from Balochistan in a counter-intelligence operation on March 3, 2016. During the investigation, he confessed to his involvement in terrorist activities inside Pakistan that resulted in the loss of many precious human lives. He also made important revelations about RAW’s role in sponsoring state terrorism in Pakistan.