Pak passes bill that will allow Kulbhushan Jadhav to Appeal in High Court


Does Indian prisoner in Pak jail, Kulbhushan Jhadhav, have another chance (Photo: twitter@JadhavSaysPKMKB)

Kulbhushan Jadhav, a retired officer of the Indian Navy, who is lodged in a Pakistani jail, can now appeal to high courts of Pakistan against his conviction.  He was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court in April 2017 on espionage charges. 

On Thursday, Pakistan National Assembly passed the bill to provide the right of appeal to Kulbhushan Jadhav. The bill approved by a 21-member standing committee, has been named 'International Court of Justice (Review and Reconsideration) Act. This will allow Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav a right of appeal in tune with a ruling by the International Court of Justice's (ICJ). 

The Pakistan government had brought an ordinance in the National Assembly earlier in view of the ICJ’s ruling in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case. The Act will extend to the whole of Pakistan and shall “come into force at once”. 

Speaking again after passage of the ICJ (Review and Re-consideration) Bill, 2020, aimed at allowing Jadhav to have consular access in line with the ICJ verdict, the Pakistani law minister Farogh Nasim said the bill was being passed in the light of the verdict of the International Court of Justice (ICJ). Had they not passed the bill, India would have gone to the UN Security Council and could have moved contempt proceedings against Pakistan in the ICJ reports Pakistani daily Dawn.

Former Indian Navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court in 2017 on charges of espionage and terrorism.

India had appealed to the International Court of Justice at the Hague against the decision of the military court of Pakistan and the denial of consular access by the Pakistani government to Jadhav. The ICJ said in 2019 that the sentence awarded to Jadhav should be reviewed and the court. The court, while slamming the Pakistan government, had also said that Jadhav has a right to get consular access, which should not be denied to him.

Last year the Large Bench of the Islamabad High Court had started hearing on the non-release of Jadhav and three other Indian prisoners after completion of their sentences. In January this year, the Ministry of External Affairs had also strongly criticised Pakistan, saying that it was not abiding with the ICJ’s directive.

Pakistan claims that Jadhav was arrested from Balochistan in 2016 on charges of espionage. India has rejected Pakistan's allegations and said he was kidnapped from the Iranian port of Chabahar.