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Relief in India as UN court orders Pakistan not to execute Jadhav (Roundup)

IANS  |  The Hague/New Delhi/Islamabad 

In a diplomatic and legal victory for India, the International of Justice (ICJ) on Thursday stayed the execution of alleged spy Kulbhushan Jadhav, dismissing Pakistan's contention that it had no jurisdiction to go into the matter.

In a unanimous and binding decision, the UN's top said the status quo should be maintained pending final decision to be taken in the case that has brought ties between the two rival neighbours to a new low.

"shall take all measures at its disposal to ensure that Jadhav is not executed pending the final decision in these proceedings and shall inform the of all the measures taken in implementation of the present order," ICJ President Ronny Abraham said, reading out the order in the open

"The also decides that until it has given its final decision, it shall remain seized of the matters which form the subject matter of this order," said the which consists of 10 judges, including Justice Dalveer Bhandari of India, besides President Abraham.

Jadhav was allegedly arrested from Pakistan's restive Balochistan province on March 3, 2016. claimed that the former Indian Navy officer confessed in a video that he was involved in spying and terror activities in Balochistan, a charge rejected by He was convicted in April by a Pakistani military and sentenced to death.

has maintained that Jadhav was abducted from Iran, where he was pursuing his business, and passed off as a spy.

approached the international on May 8 against Pakistan, accusing it of violating the Vienna Convention as Islamabad had rejected 16 requests by New Delhi seeking consular access. was also accused of denying Jadhav a fair trial in violation of international human rights laws.

In a declaration appended to the judgment, Justice Bhandari concurred with the on its interim order, saying: "...this is a case in which it regrettably appears, on a preliminary examination of the facts, that the basic human rights of Jadhav have been violated by not allowing to have consular access to him after his arrest and during the pendency of the criminal proceedings against him in "

The decision brought relief to India, with the Ministry of External Affairs calling the ruling "unanimous, favourable, clear and unambiguous". But said it did not accept the UN court's jurisdiction in matters related to its national security.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj welcomed the ruling. She said the order was "a great relief to the family of Kulbhushan Jadhav and people of India".

"I assure the nation that under the leadership of Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi we will leave no stone unturned to save Kulbhushan Jadhav," she said in tweets. Modi backed the Minister's statement, retweeting Sushma Swaraj's tweet from his personal account.

Foreign Affairs Advisor to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Sartaj Aziz, said the ICJ did not order to provide consular access to Jadhav but has merely put forward an opinion.

He said a decision to provide consular access to Jadhav is yet to be made.

Foreign Office spokesman Nafees Zakaria hit out at for "trying to hide its real face" by taking the Jadhav case to the world

However, Attorney General Ashtar Ausaf Ali's office in a statement indicated it would abide by the court's ruling while saying the interim order had "no bearing, whatsoever, on the final decision" related to the case.

"The ICJ has stated that by way of provisional measures, the status quo be maintained in the case of Jadhav. The has clearly underscored that the provisional measures are without prejudice to the final determination of the merits and jurisdiction of the case."

The statement said would take the case to the "logical end" and that had no substance in the case.

In the two-page order, Justice Abraham also dismissed Pakistan's contention that the had no jurisdiction over the case. It said Pakistan's alleged failure to provide consular access to Jadhav appeared to be falling within the scope of the Vienna Convention.

"In the view of the Court, this is sufficient to establish that it has prima facie jurisdiction under article I of the Optional Protocol. The further observes that the existence of a 2008 bilateral agreement between the parties on consular relations does not change its conclusion on jurisdiction," it said.

Justice Abraham said had also failed to give any assurance that Jadhav would not be executed before the delivered its final decision.

"The mere fact that Jadhav is under a death sentence and might therefore be executed is sufficient to demonstrate the existence of a risk of irreparable prejudice to the rights claimed by In those circumstances, the is satisfied that there is urgency in the present case."

--IANS

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(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, May 18 2017. 20:22 IST
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