Kulbhoshan Jadhav case: Court assures fair trial

By Special Correspondent

Islamabad: On Monday, the High Court of Islamabad assured the lawyer of the Indian High Commission of a fair trial of the accused spy Kulbhushan Jadhav and proposed a third consular access to the International Court of Justice for review and reconsideration of the conviction.

The IHC Trial Judges, consisting of Chief Justice Athar Minallah, Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb, also proposed that Shahnawaz Noon, a lawyer, should be provided with the requisite documents relating to the court martial proceedings against the Indian spy, because he had previously been denied these documents for not having a paper or Wikalatnama from the Indian High Commission.

Justice Aurangzeb entered the bench from home via a video connection like Covid 19’s quarantine.

Though the Indian High Commission seems reluctant to employ a Jadhav lawyer, Mr Noon appeared before the High Court for the release of another convicted Indian spy, Mohammad Ismail, who had served his sentence in Pakistani prison.

Attorney General Khalid Jawed Khan underscored the double standards in the case of Jadhav and other convicted Indian citizens and said that the Indian Government had recently filed a petition for the release of eight convicts, but in the case of Jadhav he expressed fear of violating sovereign immunity if the High Commission approved the appointment of his counsel.

Commander Jadhav, a Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) spy, was arrested in Balochistan in March 2016. On 10 April 2017, the Field General Court Martial sentenced him to death for supporting terrorism in Balochistan and Karachi.

India later referred the verdict to the International Court of Justice. On 18 May 2017, the ICJ had stayed its execution until a final judgement had been handed down in the case.

On 17 July last year, the ICJ rejected India ‘s demand for the release of Jadhav, but directed Pakistan to suspend the execution. It also ruled that Pakistan will have to revisit the entire trial and conviction process and grant India consular access to the spy.

Pakistan has also released ICJ (Review and Reconsideration) Ordinance 2020 to comply with the decision of the ICJ.

Attorney General Khan read an earlier Indian ‘notice verbale’ in which New Delhi raised a number of objections and expressed apprehension of violating sovereign immunity if the High Commission decided to nominate a lawyer for Jadhav.

Shahnawaz Noon told the court that he had previously been named Jadhav’s lawyer, but that a copy of the trial proceedings had been refused.

At this point, the Attorney General noted that the Indian High Commission did not include a paper of attorney or wakalatnama which was a prerequisite for obtaining such a record.

Justice Minallah claimed that, in such a case, the counsel may send a petition to the IHC to provide the necessary documents needed for the hearing of the court. “What we want is assistance from India through its High Commission to enforce the ICJ judgement in letter and spirit,” the Chief Justice said, adding that the High Commission appointed counsel for other Indian prisoners, Shahnawaz Noon, was present at the court to pursue the case.

When the court questioned why the Indian Government was reluctant to provide assistance in the Jadhav case , Mr. Noon said both governments had been talking, but India had some reservations.

Justice Minallah recalled that the orders of the ICJ specified that the laws of Pakistan had to be complied with and that they could not be exempted. Mr Noon said he talked to the officials of the High Commission and they had a meeting with New Delhi. Subsequently, the court adjourned the hearing until December 1, after Mr. Noor asked for some time.

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