Pakistan’s parliament passed a bill at a joint session providing Kulbhushan Jadhav, the right to file a review appeal against fake spy case.
After two years of the Order of International Court of Justice (ICJ), the Pakistani Parliament finally passed the bill which will allow Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav a right of appeal against the death sentence awarded against him by a military court for alleged involvement in espionage and subversive activities.
The ICJ had directed the Pakistani parliament to give it an “effective review and reconsideration" in 2019. The Hague-based court also directed Pakistan to grant consular access to India without further delay. The court had asked Pakistan to provide a proper forum for appeal against the sentence given to Jadhav by a military court. Senior Advocate Harish Salve had represented India at the Hague. The Court had found Pakistan guilty of not respecting Vienna Convention on Consular Relations and ordered it to give consular access to India and review and reconsider the conviction as well as the sentence of Jadhav in an effective manner.
However, India had long back conveyed its concerns regarding the bill when it was passed by the Pakistani National assembly in June this year but failed to clear the Senate, where the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and allied parties don’t have a majority. In the wake of the ICJ order the Pakistan government had promulgated a special ordinance but India said that the bill was a reiteration of an ordinance issued in 2019 and Pakistan had to implement the ICJ’s order “in letter and spirit”. India asked Pakistan to provide “unimpeded” consular access in a free environment. Pakistan has turned down the Indian demand of “unimpeded” consular access.
According to the sources of the External Affairs Ministry, the Pakistani bill says that Jadhav can appeal to the Islamabad High Court which is “clearly a breach of the basic tenet, that except the Supreme court of the country, other courts cannot be the arbiter of whether a State has fulfilled its obligations under international law. How can high courts hear cases over a judgment of the ICJ?”
Pakistan had claimed that its security forces arrested the alleged Indian spy, Kulbhushan Jadhav from its restive Balochistan province on March 3, 2016 after he reportedly entered from Iran. But a year later, Amjad Shoaib, an ex-ISI official and a retired Lieutenant General had admitted that the ex-Indian Navy officer Jadhav was captured in Iran by Mullah Omar Irani of Jaish-ul-Adl from Sarbaz city, around 52 km from Chabahar. Irani then “sold” Jadhav to the Pakistan Army. Jaish-ul-Adl is believed to be fighting against Baloch rebels along with the Pakistan Army. Interestingly, Mullah Omar was killed by the Pakistani forces last year in an “encounter”. Indian agencies have enough evidence to prove how Pakistani agencies framed Jadhav in a fake spy case.
Experts believe that there is hardly any doubt about the Pakistani intention about Jadhav's case.
As former diplomat Vivek Katju suggested: “Pakistan for long was looking for a ‘silver bullet’ to implicate India in cases of terrorism in Pakistan.” To this end, Pakistan would not hesitate to manipulate the ICJ judgement.