External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj spoke to Kulbhushan Jadhav’s mother hours after the International Court of Justice (ICJ) asked Pakistan to put the retired Indian naval officer’s execution on hold. Sources said that Swaraj spoke to Avanti for a few minutes around 12.30 pm on Tuesday.
“Swaraj called to personally inform Jadhav’s mother on the ICJ’s order and even assured the family members that all steps will be taken to get justice for Jadhav. The conversation left the family in tears and they are happy about the efforts taken by the government,” a family source told The Indian Express. “With the Pakistan government denying consular access, we were very sceptical about what was going to happen next. The 40-day appeal period against the death sentence awarded by their military court expires on May 19.’’
The ICJ’s intervention has come as a major relief for the family that is hopeful that Jadhav will get a fair trial in accordance with the principle of natural justice and the Vienna Convention to which India and Pakistan are signatories.
Jadhav’s friends and well-wishers burst firecrackers and distributed sweets to celebrate the ICJ’s intervention. Jadhav’s friend, Tulsidas Pawar, was out for a stroll late at night when he learnt about the development. “I no longer need to track news to keep track of what is happening with Jadhav. Every time there is some development, the media instantly contacts me for some comment,” Pawar said.
He said that the court has noted that no proper trial was carried out. “…we tried Kasab publicly even though the world had seen him carry out terror attacks during 26/11. Pakistan has followed no procedure and on its own whim decided to execute him,” said Pawar, who runs a footwear shop.
Pawar hoped that Pakistan’s claims that Jadhav is a spy will be exposed with the court’s intervention. “We are hopeful of meeting him once again here,’’ Pawar said that he was stunned when he heard about Jadhav’s arrest last year. “We saw the photo they released… and (were) scared. He did not look his earlier fit self.’’
Debu Mukherjee, Jadhav’s other friend, said that he was hopeful but still worried. “The last two three months… we were quite worried. We will only heave a sigh of relief once Kulbhushan comes to India. Till that time, we cannot be confident.”