Pakistani court grants India more time to appoint lawyer to represent Kulbhushan Jadhav

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Kulbhushan Jadhav | Photo credit: IANS

Islamabad: A Pakistan trial court on Tuesday gave India more time to appoint a lawyer to represent death row inmate Kulbhushan Jadhav in court to hear a review of his conviction and conviction by a military tribunal.

Jadhav, a 51-year-old retired Indian naval officer, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court for espionage and terrorism in April 2017. India took Pakistan to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for denial of consular access to Jadhav and challenging the death penalty.

After hearing from both sides, the Hague-based ICJ delivered a verdict in July 2019, asking Pakistan to allow Indian consular access to Jadhav and also ensure a review of his conviction.

On Tuesday, a panel of three judges from the High Court of Islamabad (IHC), including Chief Justice Athar Minallah, Judge Aamer Farooq and Judge Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb, heard the Justice Ministry’s case regarding the appointment. a lawyer for Jadhav.

Pakistan’s Attorney General Khalid Javed Khan reminded the court that he issued an order on May 5 asking authorities to make an extra effort to contact India to appoint a lawyer.

He informed the court that the message had been forwarded to India but that there has been no response so far.

Khan also told the court that India wants consular access to Jadhav in a separate room, but authorities cannot risk leaving him alone with Indian officials. “They can hurt him even by shaking his hand,” he said.

He said Pakistan was making efforts for full implementation of the ICJ review and reconsideration decision, but India was creating obstacles.

Khan said that due to Indian intransigence, the government asked the court for the appointment of a lawyer. “India wants to appoint an outside lawyer but our law prohibits it, as does India on its own territory,” he said.

Chief Justice Minallah said Pakistan wanted to implement the ICJ ruling. “Wouldn’t it be better to give them another chance so that they can express their reservations in court,” he observed.

The judge asked Khan to deliver the message to the Indian government and Jadhav. “Send another reminder to Kulbhushan and the Indian government. If India has any reservations, she can forward them here, or someone from the Indian Embassy in Pakistan can forward them. It might provide a solution,” said the judge.

The court later adjourned the hearing of the case indefinitely.

No progress was made on the review issue as India refused to appoint a local lawyer while asking Pakistan to let an Indian lawyer represent Jadhav in court.

India has called on Pakistan to address “loopholes” in a bill introduced to facilitate review of Jadhav’s case, saying the proposed law does not create a mechanism to reconsider her as mandated by the ICJ.

India said the Review and Reconsideration Bill of 2020 fails to create a mechanism to facilitate an effective review and reconsideration of Jadhav’s case, as required by the ICJ judgment and the courts. Municipalities cannot be the arbiter of whether a state has fulfilled its obligations under international law.


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