(This was originally posted in India Today by Geeta Mohan)
The Pakistan National Assembly on Thursday adopted the Bill to give the right of appeal to Indian prisoner Kulbhushan Jadhav in regard to the International Court of Justice’s (ICJ) ruling. The ICJ ruling has directed the assembly to give it an “effective review and reconsideration”.
In 2020, the Imran Khan-led Pakistan government presented an ordinance in the National Assembly in view of the ICJ’s ruling in the case of Kulbhushan Jadhav, despite protests by the Opposition parties. The ‘International Court of Justice Review and Reconsideration Ordinance 2020’ was enacted on May 20 last year.
Kulbhushan Jadhav case
Kulbhushan Jadhav, a 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. 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 2019 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.
India should avail its offer for consular access to Jadhav: Pak
In January 2021, Pakistan said that India should avail its offer for consular access to Jadhav and “cooperate” to implement the judgment of the ICJ about the effective review of his case. “We call upon India to come forward, avail the third consular access, and let the case in Islamabad High court proceed further,” Foreign Office Spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri had said in Islamabad on January 29.
He added that Pakistan had already provided consular access to India twice. “Our position is consistent that the Indian government should come forward and cooperate with the courts in Pakistan so that full effect could be given to the ICJ Judgment,” he added.
India unhappy with case developments
India has slammed Pakistan for adopting a “farcical” approach in denying available legal remedies to Kulbhushan Jadhav against his death sentence in contravention of the ICJ order. Pakistan has repeatedly rejected India’s demand that an Indian lawyer or a Queen’s counsel should be appointed for Jadhav to ensure a free and fair trial in the review of his death sentence in this country.