The Islamabad high court on Tuesday allowed India more time to appoint a lawyer to represent Kulbhushan Jadhav to hear a review of his conviction and sentencing by a military court. Jadhav has been sentenced to death for alleged involvement in spying. Attorney General for Pakistan Khalid Javed Khan reminded the court that it had passed an order on May 5 asking the authorities to make one more effort to contact India for the appointment of a counsel.
He informed the court that the message was conveyed to India but there has been no response so far. The court then adjourned the hearing of the case for an indefinite period. Kulbhushan Jadhav, a former Indian Navy officer, was arrested in March 2016 in Pakistan’s Balochistan province on charges of spying and sentenced to death by a military court the following year. India has rejected the charges levelled against him and said he was kidnapped by Pakistani operatives from the Iranian port of Chabahar, where he was running a business.
India approached the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against Pakistan for denial of consular access to Jadhav and challenging the death sentence. After hearing both sides, the Hague-based ICJ issued a verdict in July, 2019, asking Pakistan to give India consular access to Jadhav and also ensure review of his conviction. No progress has been made on the review issue as India refused to appoint a local lawyer while demanding Pakistan to let an Indian lawyer represent Jadhav in the court.
Pakistan has said that India is engaging in a campaign to obfuscate the issue of appointing a lawyer to represent Jadhav. Pakistan’s Foreign Office said paragraph 118 of the ICJ’s judgement requires India to “act in good faith, and arrange legal representation” for Jadhav. The statement came after India asked Pakistan to address the “shortcomings” in a bill brought out to facilitate reviewing the case of Jadhav, saying the proposed law does not create a mechanism to reconsider it as mandated by the ICJ. India said the bill passed by Pakistan’s National Assembly in June has several shortcomings and does not “create a machinery to facilitate effective review and reconsideration of Jadhav’s case, as mandated by the judgement of the ICJ”.