THE provisional order of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) staying Kulbhushan Jadhav’s execution came as a big relief for his family that tracked the proceedings on television Thursday. “The Ministry of External Affairs ( MEA) and its minister, Sushma Swaraj, are in touch with us and keep us apprised of the developments.The verdict has come as a major relief and we are hopeful that Jadhav will get a fair trial. The provisional order is a step in the right direction,” a family source told The Indian Express.
On April 26, weeks after a Pakistani military court awarded death sentence to Jadhav on espionage charges, his mother filed an appeal under Section 133 (B) and a petition before the Federal Government of Pakistan under Section 131 of the Pakistan Army Act, 1952. The appeal and the petition were handed over to the Pakistan Government by the Indian High Commissioner in Islamabad.
The family source said Pakistan’s decision to not allow Jadhav consular access “farcical”. On April 25, Jadhav’s parents also applied for Pakistani visas through the MEA.The family source added that they were hopeful their visa application will be processed by the Pakistani government. “Since his arrest in March last year, the family has not been able to speak to Jadhav. We are praying there is a favourable response,” added the source.
Sachin Vaze, a former Mumbai Police officer and a family friend, told The Indian Express: “The decision by the ICJ has only reaffirmed our faith in our government and we hope Pakistan will abide by the order.” When asked about the 40-day appeal period that will lapse on Friday, Vaze said the family was hopeful Pakistan will not defy the ICJ order. “Pakistan is bound by the Vienna convention and we don’t think they will defy its order,” he added.
Jadhav’s father, Sudhir Jadhav, is a retired assistant commissioner with Mumbai Police. His uncle, Suresh Jadhav, too served in Mumbai Police and was part of the team that probed the 2002 Salman Khan hit-and-run case. He now runs a security agency.
According to sources, the family won’t travel to The Hague where the ICJ hearing will be under way. Near Jadhav’s childhood home in the Lower Parel area, his old friends gave out sweets and burst crackers on Thursday.
Subroto Mukherjee, fondly called Debu by friends, including Jadhav, told The Indian Express, “Back then, we did not know what to do to help our friend. I came to know about the petition launched by the Indian-American community in the US. It needed 1 lakh signatures to get a response from the Donald Trump administration. Hence I would go around buildings in the vicinity where Jadhav spent his early years, asking people to sign it. That is all we could do then, to have some hope of him returning.”
He added, “Later when we heard the arguments of Harish Salve in the ICJ, I was quite optimistic.”
Arvind Singh, one of Jadhav’s friends, said, “This is a big victory for India. We are grateful to the entire nation for having prayed for Jadhav. We are now hopeful of him coming back soon.”