India today welcomed as "unanimous, favourable and unambiguous" the verdict of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) staying the execution of former Indian Navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav and asserted that it is binding on Pakistan. Terming the ICJ order as the "first step in ensuring justice" to Jadhav, in Pakistan custody for more than a year and sentenced to death last month by a Pakistan military court that convicted him of alleged spying and subversive activities, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Gopal Baglay said the government will do everything possible to save Jadhav's life. The ICJ in the Hague has delivered a "unanimous, favourable, clear and unambiguous order on India's request for provisional measures in the Jadhav case.
It has asked Pakistan to take all measures at its disposal to ensure that Jadhav is not executed pending the final decision in these proceedings," he said. Asked about the statement by the Pakistan foreign office that it does not accept the ICJ's jurisdiction in matters related to national security, Baglay said ICJ President Judge Ronny Abraham has made it very clear that the verdict is "legally binding international obligation". He also referred to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj's comments that the government will "leave no stone unturned" to save Jadhav. Soon after the ICJ pronounced the order, Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his satisfaction and spoke to Swaraj, who described the verdict as a "great relief" to family and people of India. They both thanked senior lawyer Harish Salve, who headed a battery of lawyers presenting India's case. On whether India will again request Pakistan for consular access to Jadhav, Baglay said New Delhi's request is pending with Pakistan and if Islamabad wants, it can grant access "at anytime". When pressed further on whether India will make a fresh plea for access to Jadhav, he said the matter was in the international court, suggesting that the matter may not be taken bilaterally with Pakistan. On Jadhav's appeal process, he said "unfortunately, India has no information on the issue." There is no information that what has happened to the appeal by Jadhav's mother which was handed over to the Pakistan foreign secretary by Indian High Commissioner to Islamabad, he added. According to Pakistani side, Jadhav had 40 days to appeal from the date of verdict which was April 10. He also noted that as per the information available, Pakistan has also not taken any action on the visa requested by Jadhav's family to travel to Pakistan to meet him and appeal in person, if required. Asked if Pakistan like China also refuses to abide by the ICJ ruling, the spokesperson said India is a law-abiding country and it expects all other countries also to adhere to such verdicts. However, he did not elaborate, saying he would not like to speculate about what would happen in future in the case which was now "sub-judice". The ICJ is seized off the case and it will work according to its provision and rules, he added. In a major boost to India, the ICJ stayed Jadhav's execution and asked Pakistan to inform it "of all the measures taken in implementation of the present order".
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