Maintaining that ICJ verdict on Kulbhushan Jadhav is a complete vindication of its stand, India on Thursday sought from Islamabad immediate consular access to its national as Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan contended that his government shall proceed in the matter as per law.
Making a statement in both Houses of Parliament, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar also asserted that the government will “vigorously continue” its efforts to ensure Jhadav’s safety and wellbeing, as well as his early return to India.
Rubbishing Pakistan’s claim of a victory in the case, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said Islamabad has its “own compulsions to lie” to its people.
Jadhav, 49, a retired Indian Navy officer, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of “espionage and terrorism” in April 2017 following which India had moved the ICJ, seeking a stay on his death sentence and further remedies.
A 16-member bench headed by President of the Court, Judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf, by 15-1 votes ordered Pakistan on Wednesday to 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 has been asked to provide consular access to Jadhav and they have to do it,” Kumar said.
Reacting for the first time to the verdict, Khan tweeted, “appreciate ICJ’s decision not to acquit, release and return Commander Kulbhushan Jadhav to India. He is guilty of crimes against the people of Pakistan. Pakistan shall proceed further as per law.”
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi also tweeted, “Jadhav shall remain in Pakistan. He shall be treated in accordance with the laws of Pakistan” while claiming that “this is a victory for Pakistan.”
Responding sharply, Kumar said, “frankly, it seems to me they (Pakistan) are reading from a completely different verdict. The main verdict is of 42 pages. If there is no patience to go through 42 pages, they should go through the press release, where each and every point is in favour of India.”
Noting that Pakistan was found to have deprived India of the right to communicate with Jadhav, have access to him, visit him in detention and arrange his legal representation, Jaishankar said, “Kulbhushan Jadhav is innocent of the charges made against him. His forced confession without legal representation and due process will not change this reality.”
“We once again call upon Pakistan to release and repatriate him forthwith,” the minister said in Parliament.
Asked what will happen if Pakistan does not comply with the court order, the Spokesperson said the ICJ clearly mentioned that the “judgement is final, binding and without appeal”.
He said Pakistan is obliged to act on the directive of the ICJ as it is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations and the verdict is binding on Islamabad.
“Pakistan should take all measures to provide for effective review and reconsideration of the conviction and sentencing of Jadhav. This should include enacting appropriate legislation,” Kumar said.
“The ICJ judgement is a complete vindication and validation of India’s position in this case,” Kumar asserted.
In its 42-page order, the court while rejecting Pakistan’s objection to the admissibility of the Indian application in the case, held that “a continued stay of execution constitutes an indispensable condition for the effective review” of the sentence of Jadhav.
The bench, however, rejected some remedies sought by India, including annulment of the military court’s decision convicting Jadhav, his release and safe passage to India.
The ICJ upheld India’s stand that Pakistan is in egregious violation of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, 1963 on several counts in the case.
Asked whether India will make a fresh request for consular access to Jadhav, the Spokesperson said nothing new will be done now as previous requests for consular access were pending with that country.
Meanwhile, former Union minister and senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley termed the ICJ judgement a “comprehensive victory” for India and said Pakistan has been given an opportunity to comply with the rule of law and it is now under a “global gaze” as to what direction it follows.
In his blog, he also took a dig at the neighbouring nation over its claim of victory following the verdict, as he called it “farcical”.