ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday again offered India an opportunity to retain legal representation for an agent of the Research and Analysis Unit (RAW) Kulbhushan Jadhav of its spy and intelligence agency.
During the hearing, the attorney general said India did not consider Kulbhushan Jadhav to be a person, but an asset.
The court then adjourned the hearing to April 13.
On July 17, 2019, the International Court of Justice rejected the remedies India sought, including the quashing of the military court’s conviction of Kulbhushan Jadhav, his release and safe travel to India.
Announcing the verdict, Judge Abdulqavi Ahmed Yousaf told Pakistan to review the death sentence for Indian spy, saying Islamabad violated his rights to consular visits.
The court, in its verdict, rejected a number of Indian demands including annulment of military court decision convicting Jadhav, his release and safe passage to India.
The ICJ found that Pakistan deprived India of the right to communicate with and have access to Kulbhushan Jadhav, to visit him in detention and to arrange for his legal representation, and thereby breached obligations incumbent upon it under Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.
The tribunal in The Hague ordered an “effective review and reconsideration of the conviction and sentence of Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav”.
The judge remarked that Pakistan and India are signatories of the Vienna Convention.
“A continued stay of execution constitutes an indispensable condition for the effective review and reconsideration of the conviction and sentence of Mr Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav,” it ruled.
The court ordered that Indian spies could not be handed over to India while finding Jadhav guilty of terrorist activities in Pakistan. It ruled that Kulbhushan would remain in Pakistani custody.
A Pakistani panel, headed by the attorney general, was present at the court. The team also included then Foreign Ministry spokesman Dr Mohammad Faisal.
The government has arrested Jadhav, alias Hussein Mubarak Patel, in Balochistan on charges of terrorism and espionage for the Indian intelligence agency RAW.
The government said he was an active-duty commander of the Indian Navy who had been involved in subversive activities inside Pakistan and was arrested on March 3, 2016, in a counter-intelligence operation in Mashker, Balochistan. The Indian government acknowledges Jadhav is a former naval officer but denies any current link to him and insists he retired early and was kidnapped by Iran.
On March 25, 2016, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) released Jadhav’s confession, claiming to be an active duty officer in the Indian Navy.
“By 2002, I commenced intelligence operations. In 2003, I established a small business in Chabahar in Iran,” he admitted. “As I was able to achieve undetected existence and visits to Karachi in 2003 and 2004. Having done some basic assignments within India for RAW, I was picked up by RAW in 2013 end”.
He said his purpose was to meet Baloch insurgents and carry out “activities with their collaboration”.
On April 8, 2017, ISPR lodged a first information report (FIR) against him whereas on April 11, 2017, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa had confirmed death sentence of Jadhav who was tried through Field General Court Martial (FGCM) under Pakistan Army Act (PAA). He was tried under section 59 of Pakistan Army Act (PAA) 1952 and Section III of official Secret Act of 1923.
FGCM found Kulbushan SudhirYadhav guilty of all the charges. He confessed before a Magistrate and the Court that he was tasked by RAW to plan, coordinate and organize espionage and sabotage activities aiming to destabilize and wage war against Pakistan by impeding the efforts of Law Enforcement Agencies for restoring peace in Balochistan and Karachi.
On May 8, 2017, India approached the ICJ against Pakistan for denying consular access to Jadhav.
On May 18, 2017, the ICJ stayed the execution pending the final judgment on the case and even on July 13, 2018, ICJ stayed Kulbhushan Jadhav’s execution in Pakistan.
On June 22, 2017, Jadhav gave a second confessional statement where he confessed to carrying out subversive activities in Balochistan.
The ICJ reserved its judgment in the Jadhav case on February 22, 2019, and they will deliver their decision today, July 17, 2019.