Kulbhushan refuses to file review against death penalty: FO

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By Asghar Ali Mubarak

ISLAMABAD, July 08 (INP): Kulbhushan Jadhav refused to file a review petition under Pakistani law against the death sentence awarded to him, the Foreign Office said on Wednesday.
Indian Navy officer Jadhav was arrested on charges of espionage in Balochistan in March 2016 and sentenced to death by a military court a year later.
Last July, the International Court of Justice ordered Pakistan to provide consular access to Jadhav and review his death sentence.
During a press conference on Wednesday, Additional Attorney-General Ahmed Irfan and the Foreign Office’s Director-General of South Asia and SAARC Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri said that Pakistan enacted on May 20 the International Court of Justice Review and Reconsideration Ordinance, 2020 which allows reviews petitions within a certain period of time.
The petitions can be filed to the Islamabad High Court, explained Irfan, addingthat it in this case, it can be filed by Jadhav himself, an appointed representative or a consular official of the Indian High Commission.
On June 17 we invited Jadhav to file a petition for the reconsideration of his conviction and offered him legal representation but he refused to file the petition and instead preferred to follow up on his pending mercy petition, said Irfan.
He said the government had also repeatedly written to the Indian High Commission to file the petition and initiate the process for a review before the deadline.
Pakistan is fully cognizant of its international obligations and committed to implementing the ICJ judgment in letter and spirit, he said, expressing his hopethat India will follow due legal course and cooperate with courts in Pakistan togive effect to the ICJ judgment. He added that Pakistan has offered second consular access to Jadhav. In the first round he met his mother and wife and now we have offered to let him meet his father and wife, he said.Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav has refused to file an appeal in the Islamabad High Court against his conviction and subsequent death sentence by a military court despite authorities’ offer to do so, officials said on Wednesday.
Instead, officials added, Jadhav had decided to apply for a mercy petition. Jadhav a serving commander of the Indian Navy associated with Indian spy agency Research and Analysis Wing was arrested on March 3, 2016, from Balochistan on allegations of espionage and terrorism. In a press conference in Islamabad today, Additional Attorney General Ahmed Irfan and Director General (South Asia & SAARC) Zahid Hafeez Chaudhry said that an ordinance was promulgated by the government on May 20, which allowed the Indian government, Jadhav and his legal representative to file a review petition in IHC within 60 days, which expire on July 19.
They said Indian authorities had requested to appoint an Indian lawyer to advocate for Jadhav but if an appeal is filed in the IHC, only a lawyer that holds a license of the respective court would be able to represent the spy. Therefore, an Indian lawyer cannot advocate for the convicted spy but they may be allowed to assist Jadhav’s counsel. The Pakistani government had allowed consular access to Jadhav twice in the past and has offered to do so again, the officials said. Authorities have also offered to arrange Jadhav’s meeting with his father and wife, they added. The AAG and DG (South Asia & SAARC) expressed hope that the Indian government will respond positively to this offer.
Both officials recalled that Pakistan had earlier allowed Jadhav’s mother and wife to meet him and said that the government had complied with the verdict of the International Court of Justice passed last year. They said Pakistan had provided evidence of Indian state terrorism to the international community multiple times and will continue to do so. In his trial at a military court after his arrest, Jadhav had confessed to his involvement in terrorist plots. The spy was subsequently sentenced to death in 2017. However, India insisted that Jadhav was not a spy and said he was kidnapped from Iran.
On April 10, 2017, Army Chief Gen Qamar Bajwa had endorsed the death penalty for Jadhav. In June 2017, the Indian spy had filed a mercy petition against the death penalty, in which he again confessed to his involvement in terrorist activities.
However, before Pakistani authorities could make a final decision, the ICJ, after being approached by India, had ordered a stay in his execution through an interim order in 2019. Later that year, ICJ announced its verdict on the Kulbhushan Jadhav case, ruling that Jadhav be allowed consular access immediately and asking Pakistan to ensure “effective review and reconsideration of his conviction and sentences”.
The ICJ, however, rejected all other remedies sought by India, which included the annulment of the military court decision convicting Jadhav, restricting Pakistan from executing the sentence, securing Jadhav’s release and ordering his return to India. The ICJ said that even though it had found Pakistan in violation of Article 36 the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (VCCR), “it is not the conviction and sentence of Mr. Jadhav which are to be regarded as a violation of Article 36 of the Vienna Convention.”
The most the ICJ said it could do was to order Pakistan to cease violation of Article 36 and review the case in light of how that violation may have affected the case’s outcome. “The Court notes that Pakistan acknowledges that the appropriate remedy in the present case would be effective review and reconsideration of the conviction and sentence,” it observed.
To this end, Pakistan was directed to immediately inform Jadhav of his rights under Article 36, grant India consular access, and then review the case while considering, under the laws of Pakistan, how not doing so earlier may have impacted the case’s outcome. The Foreign Office said on Wednesday Pakistan promulgated an ordinance to afford Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav an opportunity to file a petition seeking review of his conviction but he declined to avail it.
Speaking at a press conference, Additional Attorney-General Ahmed Irfan and Director-General of South Asia and SAARC Zahid Hafeez Chaudhry said Islamabad offered to help arrange legal representation for the Indian spy. Pakistan time and again wrote to the Indian High Commission in Islamabad to institute a review petition against the sentence of Jadhav, Chaudhry said, asking New Delhi to follow due legal procedure and cooperate with Pakistani courts to ensure implementation of the judgment of the International Court of Justice. The DG South Asia and SAARC said that Islamabad offered second consular access to the Indian spy. First, Jadhav met his mother and wife and later was allowed to meet his father and wife, he disclosed.