Pakistan on Thursday said that it has conveyed the judicial orders to India for appointing a lawyer to represent death-row prisoner Kulbhushan Jadhav in the court but New Delhi had not responded yet. Foreign Office spokesman Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri said at the weekly briefing that Pakistan was committed to the implementation of International Court of Justice (ICJ)’s judgment in the case and would take all measures necessary to implement the judgment.
“Yes, we have conveyed the decision of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) to India through diplomatic channels. We have not yet received a response from the Indian side,” he said. Jadhav, the 50-year-old retired Indian Navy officer, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of "espionage and terrorism" in April 2017.
On September 3, the IHC asked the authorities to once again approach India and Jadhav to appoint a lawyer. Chaudhri said that there was “absolutely no pressure on Pakistan from India” on accepting its demand to appoint a foreign lawyer in the case.
“We continue reminding India that for an effective review and reconsideration of commander Jadhav’s conviction and sentence, they will have to cooperate with the Pakistanis courts. “As per the ICJ’s judgment, review and reconsideration in the case can be provided by the Pakistani courts,” he said.
He said that India’s position in the matter was “unfortunately still evasive”. “We believe that the consular access was unimpeded and uninterrupted; presence of security personnel does not and should not imply that the access was impeded or interrupted,” he said.
“Our offer of a third consular access is still on the table,” he said, adding that as for India’s insistence on getting a foreign lawyer appointed in the case, only those lawyers can appear in Pakistani courts who have a license to practice law in Pakistan. He said that cooperation was made available wherever in the investigation of Jadhav was required from Iran.
On July 16, Pakistan provided consular access to Jadhav, but the Indian government said the access was "neither meaningful nor credible" and he appeared visibly under stress. The Ministry of External Affairs said Pakistan is not only in violation of the judgment of ICJ, but also of its own ordinance.
Pakistan has introduced a special law to allow Jadhav to get his sentence reviewed as asked by the ICJ. India approached the ICJ against Pakistan for denial of consular access to Jadhav and challenging the death sentence.
The Hague-based ICJ ruled in July last year that Pakistan must undertake an "effective review and reconsideration" of the conviction and sentence of Jadhav and also to grant consular access to India without further delay. Pakistan claims that its security forces arrested Jadhav from the restive Balochistan province on March 3, 2016 after he reportedly entered from Iran. India maintains that Jadhav was kidnapped from Iran where he had business interests after retiring from the Navy.