PM Abbasi to finalise pleadings in Jadhav case today

ISLAMABAD: As the deadline for furnishing Pakistan’s response before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) is approaching, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi is expected to preside over a meeting on Thursday (today) to finalise Islamabad’s memorial to India’s claim on the conviction of Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav.

The ICJ — a world court seized with an Indian complaint on the conviction of the Indian spy — had set a deadline of Dec 13 for Pakistan to submit its pleas and counter-arguments.

After the submission of the counter-memorial, the date for final proceedings may be decided — which is expected to be scheduled for February or March.

The prime minister was expected to receive a briefing on the efforts made by the principal offices, including the attorney general office, the Foreign Office and other stakeholders in formalising a robust reply to be advanced by Islamabad refuting all allegations levelled by India.

Queen’s Counsel Khawar Qureshi, who pleaded Pakistan’s case at the initial stage, is expected to reach Islamabad to attend Thursday’s briefing.

In its written pleadings, India accused Pakistan of violating the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations 1963 by not giving consular access to Jadhav, arguing that the convention did not restrict access to an individual arrested on allegation of espionage.

On May 18, the ICJ through an interim order had stayed Jadhav’s execution after which the Foreign Office communicated to it that Pakistan had instructed all relevant departments to give effect to the order of the world court.

Jadhav, who was captured in Balochistan in March 2016, was awarded death sentence earlier this year by Field General Court Martial after he admitted his involvement in espionage and fomenting terrorism in Pakistan. Islamabad has already offered the Indian side to arrange a meeting between Jadhav and his wife on humanitarian grounds.

In October, Pakistan had formally communicated about its designation of former chief justice of the Supreme Court Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani to be its judge ad hoc.

Soon after a meeting with ICJ President Ronny Abraham and delegations of Pakistan and India in the Netherlands on June 8, Attorney General Ashtar Ausaf Ali had informed the world court about Pakistan’s intention of appointing judge ad hoc to be a part of the ICJ bench for all proceedings, including substantive hearing in the Jadhav case.

Earlier on July 5, the court’s registrar was communicated by the foreign ministry that AG would act as the agent for Pakistan in the case, whereas Director General Foreign Affairs Dr Mohammad Faisal would continue to act as co-agent.