Pakistan has decided to recommend the appointment of former chief justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani as an ad-hoc judge to the International Court of Justice to hear the case of Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav. Officials said that names of Jillani and senior lawyer Makhdoom Ali Khan were sent to the office of the Prime Minister for final approval.
“The Prime Minister after due consultations decided to appoint Jillani as an ad-hoc judge,” government sources said. Jillani was appointed as chief justice in December, 2013 and remained at the post till his retirement on July 5, 2014. He was among the judges who refused to take oath under of allegiance to former dictator Gen Pervez Musharraf after he imposed emergency on November 3, 2007. Jillani was kept in illegal confinement by Musharraf. Musharraf is currently facing a criminal case for illegally confining the judges.
The decision to appoint Jillani as an ad-hoc judge came as Pakistan started the process to file its plea in response to Indian memorial submitted with the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on September 13 against the conviction of Jadhav. The ICJ had asked Pakistan to submit its response or memorial by December 13 before the court could start further proceedings.
According to the Foreign Office sources, Attorney General Ashtar Ausaf Ali yesterday presided over a meeting of law experts and officials of Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other departments concerned to discuss the line of arguments in the ICJ. Meanwhile, Ausaf told the Dawn that they have decided to hold weekly meetings in order to review the situation and “to finalise Islamabad’s point of view and convert it into an appropriate rejoinder to India’s allegations”.
He said they were in touch with relevant stakeholders, including Khawar Qureshi who had pleaded Pakistan’s case at the initial stage, to formalise a robust reply refuting all allegations levelled against Pakistan. On Thursday, the Pakistan Army said it is close to a decision on the mercy petition of Jadhav.
Pakistan, which announced the death sentence on Jadhav on April 10, claims its security forces arrested him from its restive Balochistan province on March 3 last year after he reportedly entered from Iran. However, India maintains that he was kidnapped from Iran where he had business interests after retiring from the Navy. “Kulbhushan Jadhav’s mercy petition has come to the army chief. There is a process, everything goes through a process but I can assure that it is near finalisation and we will give you news about this very soon,” army spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor said.
Jadhav has filed an appeal with the army chief to seek clemency, which is still pending. After India approached the ICJ, a 10-member bench on May 18 restrained Pakistan from executing Jadhav till adjudication of the case. Jadhav’s sentencing had evoked a sharp reaction in India. India has warned Pakistan of consequences and damage to bilateral ties if the “premeditated murder” was carried out.
In its application, India had also informed the ICJ that it learnt about the death sentence against Jadhav from a press release. India acknowledges that Jadhav had served with the Indian Navy but denies that he has any connection with the government. It also said that Jadhav was kidnapped from Iran. India has also handed over to Pakistan an appeal by Jadhav’s mother, initiating a process to get his conviction overturned.