The stay on the execution of former Indian Navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Thursday has been a setback for Pakistan. That country’s military court had sentenced Jadhav to death on charges of espionage and subversive activities. But the ICJ rejected Pakistani claims of due process and arguments of sovereignty and was unanimous in its verdict by the 11-judge bench. However, at the same time, the court did not issue directions on consular access to Jadhav that has been demanded by India.
Here’s how the Pakistani media has reported on the ICJ verdict:
One of Pakistan’s widely-read English language newspapers, Dawn, said in a front-page report headlined ‘Setback as ICJ ‘stays’ Indian spy’s execution’ that the court has restrained Pakistan from executing Jadhav until a final verdict in the case. The report quoted Attorney General Ashtar Ausaf Ali saying that the ICJ ruling changed nothing and that Jadhav still had time to petition for clemency. He added that Pakistan would appoint an ad hoc judge to the ICJ when formal proceedings begin. Jadhav also has not exhausted all the forums of appeal available to him, the attorney general said.
In another report, the newspaper talked of criticism at home over the manner in which Pakistan handled the case. DawnNews quoted Justice Shaiq Usmani saying the decision was ‘alarming’ as the world court does not have jurisdiction. “It’s Pakistan’s mistake to have appeared there. They shouldn’t have attended. They have shot themselves in the foot,” he was quoted saying.
Another DAWN report quoted the country’s legal experts assailing the ICJ over its question of jurisdiction. Dr Farogh Naseem, former Pakistan Bar Council vice chairman, said the country should have withdrawn its declaration it submitted on March 29 accepting the compulsory jurisdiction of the ICJ.
The Express Tribune
Apart from a news report on the ICJ stay on Jadhav’s death sentence, the front page of ‘The Express Tribune’ has a report quoting legal experts blaming the foreign office’s officials for poor handling of the case. A senior lawyer told the newspaper that the legal wing of the office needs to be revamped as the officials could not offer proper advice to the counsel in the Jadhav case.
Another report quoted the government saying ‘all is not lost’ with respect to the case. Sartaj Aziz, advisor to prime minister Nawaz Sharif on foreign affairs, said the ICJ had yet to adjudicate on the matter of jurisdiction and the merits of the case. Meanwhile the opposition parties have slammed the way Pakistan handled the case at the world court.
The News International
Another English language newspaper, The News International, reported on the ICJ judgment. It also quoted Sartaj Aziz saying a stay by the world court in the case was not ‘unusual.’ Stay is granted in most of the appeals, he told reporters.
In another report, it quoted the Foreign Office spokesperson saying the ICJ has no jurisdiction to hear Jadhav’s case as it pertains to ‘Pakistan’s national interest.’
An interview of Pakistan Defence Minister Khawaja Asif carried by Dunya News said the Jadhav case ‘is an issue of Pakistan’s national security and there will be no compromise on it.’ “ICJ has only granted formal stay on the death sentence of Jadhav,” he said.