Islamabad’s self-goal

It can ignore ICJ’s injunction in the Jadhav case, but doing so will extract a price in international goodwill.

Written by Husain Haqqani | Updated: May 19, 2017 12:32 am
Kulbhushan Jadhav, Kulbhushan Jadhav sentence, jadhav death sentence, international court of justice, ICJ, jadhav ICJ, pakistan, india, death sentence stay, Jadhav hearing, indian express news, india news, indian express opinion Kulbhushan Jadhav was awarded a death sentence by a military court in Pakistan on April 10.

When Pakistan’s intelligence services arrested Kulbhushan Jadhav, they thought they had found the smoking gun that would help them make the case against India for orchestrating terrorism, especially in insurgency-stricken Balochistan. So far, the only significant outcome of the sequence of events involving Jadhav is the worsening of India-Pakistan ties.

The international community, which has become accustomed to South Asian histrionics, does not seem too moved by the debate over whether Jadhav is a spy or not and whether India or Pakistan is right in this latest of their periodic spats.

Jadhav’s arrest was followed by a video-taped confession and an unannounced trial by a military court resulting in a death sentence. The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has now stayed the execution while it hears India’s plea that Pakistan violated the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations by denying Jadhav consular access, saying that India’s assertion is “plausible”.

The ICJ’s preliminary ruling is a snub to Pakistan, which is arguing that the ICJ lacks jurisdiction. Pakistan rests its case on Article (vi) of the May 21, 2008 Agreement on Consular Access between India and Pakistan, which states that “in case of arrest, detention or sentence made on political or security grounds, each side may examine the case on its merits.”

Precedent indicates that the ICJ does not interpret bilateral agreements in a manner that supercedes obligations of states under international treaties. The ICJ is likely to find Pakistan in violation of the Vienna Convention over denial of consular access even in its final verdict, even if it does not go further in its ruling.

Pakistan could ignore the ICJ’s injunction, as some hyper-nationalists are already suggesting, but doing so would come at a price in international goodwill. As it is, Pakistan’s standing in the comity of nations is not very high at the moment. Refusing to implement the decision of the international court on grounds of sovereignty might get applause at home, but will not improve Pakistan’s relations with a world already sceptical of Pakistan’s policies.

Notwithstanding the final outcome of the ICJ proceedings, it is unlikely that Pakistan’s real goal in the Jadhav matter will be achieved. That goal is to convince the world that India is as much to blame, if not more, for terrorism on Pakistani soil as Pakistan is for terrorism in India and beyond.

The military men who make such decisions in Pakistan are trained as soldiers, not lawyers or politicians. Their simple mind does not understand that international support for a nation depends on its political and economic clout, not its ability to produce uncorroborated confessional statements of spies or would-be terrorists.

Currently, India is the bigger trading partner of all major countries than Pakistan, many of whom also look at it as a destination or source of investment. Such interests act as a deterrent to most global actors supporting Pakistan’s claim of being pushed around by India with the help of “spies” or “terrorism enablers” that Pakistan arrests and sentences.

The rest of the world already knows that India and Pakistan spy on each other. It is not much of a secret, nor is the claim by both sides that the other supports insurgencies inside its territory, and hanging someone just to prove that point is rather unnecessary.

In any case, assuming Pakistan’s assertions on the Jadhav case are all correct, a single spy distributing money to would-be secessionists or insurrectionists is not the same as running training camps for jihadi groups for three decades.

Most of the countries Pakistan is hoping to convince of Indian perfidy have, over the years, documented Pakistan’s support for groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Muhammad, recognised all over the world as terrorist groups. Pakistan does not help its case by allowing these groups to operate under new names after banning them. Nor is it helped by the public activities and media appearances of the leaders of such groups.

What, then, does Pakistan’s military-intelligence complex hope to achieve by prolonging the confrontation over one individual Indian, spy or not? It is probably meant to heighten the sentiment in Pakistan, carefully nurtured over the years by its establishment, that India remains Pakistan’s “eternal enemy”. It will likely also deter civilian leaders, mainly Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, from any new initiative to mend fences with India.

Media frenzy about the arrest and sentencing of a spy will keep the pot of neighbourly enmity boiling, even if it is largely ignored outside South Asia. Pakistan’s hyper-nationalist narrative already positions the country as the target of a global conspiracy and portrays its nuclear-armed military and intelligence agency as the only bulwarks against annihilation.

Jadhav’s conviction for espionage helps the Pakistani establishment advance its case to Pakistanis of a besieged Pakistan that would be at India’s mercy were it not for the military and the ISI.

Already, social media — widely manipulated by the ISI’s ‘M’ (for media) Wing and extensive activism from retired military officers — is advancing conspiracy theories about civilian collusion with India. Sharif’s government is alleged to have compromised Pakistan’s “principled stance” on the Jadhav case by appearing before the ICJ instead of going ahead and carrying out Jadhav’s sentence.

If the objective of Pakistan’s establishment is to keep India-Pakistan hatred alive, the truth about who Kulbhushan Jadhav is and what he was doing when he was picked up is hardly relevant. The desire to internationalise the India-Pakistan conflict, however, seems hardly likely to be fulfilled any time soon.

The writer, director for South and Central Asia at the Hudson Institute in Washington D.C., was Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States from 2008-11. His latest book is ‘India v Pakistan: Why Can’t We Just Be Friends?’ (2016, Juggernaut Books)

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  1. S
    Sridhar Kaushik
    May 20, 2017 at 10:02 am
    Nice article. One can see the tug of war between civilian govt in stan and its Army. Nawaz Sharief is the bad guy today as he has not even spoken against Kulbhushan Yadhav! May be he did not have to because he did not believe Yadhav is a terrorist. It is one thing to be a spy and another to be a terrorist. Army wanted to project India as inflicting terrorism on stan and this guy Jadhav is being used. If this were not the case, Jadhave would have been shot and news projected as a terrorist killed while trying to escape! Fact that Jadhav is beign kept alive is to paint India in the image of a nation fostering terrorism. Well, that is like the pot cal the kettle black! For decades, stan has been unleashing terrorism on India through organizations like LeT that gets support of Army and ISI. Osama bin Laden was found in Abbotabad, not Allahabad!
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      Arun
      May 20, 2017 at 3:33 am
      Well written constructive article! Most stanis will not appreciate this article, but here's a patriotic stani. The stan Army has created a mess for stan and I hope the world isolates it.
      Reply
      1. G
        g
        May 20, 2017 at 2:20 am
        Reasonable analysis by Husain Haqqani, but his views are never valued by P a k i s t a n.
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        1. M
          MyTake
          May 19, 2017 at 11:29 pm
          What if Jadav is already half dead because of stani "Normal" treatments in jail and they are considering hanging him is the only "face saving" way out! What conclusions one can come to when one thinks about stan?
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            MyTake
            May 19, 2017 at 11:22 pm
            If stan is left to get away with this, it will open the door to capture any number of Indians and declare they are spy and have a field day in what they do best. Eventually India will be forced to join the stani "game" and a new front will be opened "spy game" changing into "war game" by stealth. Then of course the real war will begin. It is the responsibility of humanity to force stan to behave normally when at least it is dea with citizens of other countries, if not of their own!
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            1. H
              HG KETKAR
              May 19, 2017 at 5:54 pm
              IT is really surprising that after ICJ decision towards stoppage of death sentence to Jadhav, there were sweet distribution across the country. In fact, the Indian government should have come into super act immediately, when he was arrested in Iran and diverted to Baloochistan (as placed by Indian officials) objecting for such arrest. But after the military court order for death, the Indian authority went to ICJ and succeeded in halting the sentence. The sweets can be attributable to Indians only if and when Kulbhushan Jadhav is brought back to India lively. Because, even now, when he is breathing in stan, God knows how crucial his life style in an enemy country like stan, where the Indians are never considered as human being. The similar type of incidence with Sarabjeet had happened and lastly he was killed in the jail by other jail mets. Let us prey to GOD for bring back to Kulbhushan Jadhav to India.
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                manu
                May 19, 2017 at 2:48 pm
                Pak Army is creating problems for its civilian government. Everything in Jadhav's case was done by Pak Army but the the indefensible case was handed over to it s gov for defending it.
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                1. P
                  pagrri
                  May 19, 2017 at 2:23 pm
                  As for your another joker Khalil Ahmad is concerned..nobody knows his name in the land of the pure.He must be an Indian masquerading as Pakkistani.We,in the land of the pure,dont care about these pa dogs.We have our own law in the land of the pure.So we care a for ICJ.But yes..if this biased ICJ takes notice of Indian atrocities in Kashmir and give capital punishment to Fodi..err..modi. then we ll take them bit seriously.Peace for the common Indian.Jay land of the pure.
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                    pagrri
                    May 19, 2017 at 2:12 pm
                    This RAW dog HH is a sel commodity..nobody in the land of the pure takes this MF seriously....well as for your sleuth...he is already dead...we ll handover his corpse to you sooner or later.Peace nd love for common Indian..Jai Land of the pure.
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                      Murthy
                      May 19, 2017 at 1:34 pm
                      HH, just like Khalid Ahmad, another thoughtful columnists of the IE, is looking at the broader picture. He is not taking any sides. What Stan is seeking, is to portray India as a country that "sponsors" terrorism in Balochistan. The Americans and Afghans have already told Stan and their Army that they do not see any evidence for Stan's contention that the unrest in Balochistan is due to Indian sponsorship. Stan's Army is also fighting their Civilian government - a point HH is the only one to mention in all this noise over Kulbhushan. Nawaz Shariff's government is saner and more intelligent than these West Punjabi moustaches who are the Army rulers. Stan' Civilian officers know of the Army's simplistic methods. The moment they heard of Kubhushan residing in Eastern Iran, they hatched this idea, then they staged the drama that is dragging their country through the ICJ. HH is correct that Stan is going to find this sneaky scheme of theirs will isolate them even more..
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                        Shahid khan
                        May 19, 2017 at 3:47 pm
                        There was unrest in Baluchistan way back until 2009, now here is complete peace, we are thankful to Pervaiz Musharraf who finish Bugti regime over the innocent people supported by RAW.
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                        poo ki
                        May 19, 2017 at 1:21 pm
                        Bajwa ne khud ne apni hi maa ki thok li phir bolte hey ke Nawaz ne rape kiya! What a pathetic liar!
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                        1. K
                          kg
                          May 19, 2017 at 11:59 am
                          Muslims need to come out of their delusions.There are 50 Muslims countries in the Arabia surrounding a tiny Israel.KUCH NAHIN UKHAAD SAKE ISRAEL KA. Everywhere else in the world, non Islamic communities have started to dissociate themselves from Muslims.The Muslim Gulf nations, their economic collapse is just a matter of about 10-30 years when world will be free of oil dependence.Every Islamic country is fighting with every other Islamic country and Muslims are running from one place to other.Pakaistan has now become just like a riyasat of Criminal Gangs and only thing saving them from India decimating them in the war is the possibility of Nuclear war a few years, India and world can force them into dismant of Nuclear weapons as they are only surviving on US AID money and have no realistic scope becoming self sufficient in next 10 years. Kashmiri Muslims, stop making yourself blind, Kashmir belongs to India and always will.
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                            yousef
                            May 19, 2017 at 9:04 am
                            Dont use wording such as snub etc. Is ego of an ins ution more important than even a single human life? The law worldover, including that of Prophet Mohammed would unhesitatingly say NO.
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                              Gopal Sriniwasan
                              May 19, 2017 at 11:32 am
                              True followers of PBU Prophet be it a Soldier, Men in Power or a Common man have to learn one thing.Forgiveness is the greatest virtue. The Rogue Generals may carry out an evil act but the Martyrdom of Kulbushan will not go in vain
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                                Jay Singh
                                May 19, 2017 at 2:12 pm
                                You should be ashamed of using PBU in front of prophet while writing. It is these kind of orthodoxy and supers ions which kindle gross human rights violation in this religion. Shame.
                            2. W
                              Waqar Khan
                              May 19, 2017 at 8:43 am
                              Did some one wonder possibility of an Indian Ambassador bashing his country using stani press..no, not possible.Hussain Haqqani is a commodity available to highest bidder.HH has changed many hats,from Jamat e Islami to Gen Zia's spokesman and from BB to Nawaz Sharif and then Zardari,current masters include Delhi and DC,tomorrow it may be Beijing,depends upon the how many Renmembi they offer.-contest is a reality and Indian RAW has left no stone unturned to target stan through kinetic and non kinetic means;HH is helping RAW's non kinetic arm.Any ways,for now HH can celebrate,but India must realize,if HH could not be for his own land,why should he not turn against India,if offered some additional bones.
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                                Gopal Sriniwasan
                                May 19, 2017 at 11:25 am
                                Like many learned Indians HH is only proud of his origin and as a US Citizen, he is showing the Mirror to the stanis. It is for the likes of you to look at the mirror or turn your face away. Not that India is perfect, but at least we are a vibrant democracy where We the People can scream till our hearts break but the state dares not to break our bones. Maa Tujhe m
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                                Mohan Tvm
                                May 19, 2017 at 6:52 am
                                China is playing behind the screen with the aim of armtwisting India to join its OBOR project, which is going to be the biggest investment scam ever happened after Federal Reserve. The accounting firm PWC tallied nearly $500 billion in projects that include high-speed railroads, oil and gas pipelines, and refineries, to name a few. China is planning to invest $113 billion. The Chinese LOAN SHARKS are doing the same thing that IMF, WB used to do for African nations. Before WW2, it was Federal Reserve doing Money Laundry in Europe by giving loans and sel arms. UNSC, toothless puppet of USA, was a silent spectator when Mumbai terror attack claimed large no. of innocent lives. stan did not implement UNSC resolution on Kashmir
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                                  akbar khan
                                  May 19, 2017 at 6:45 am
                                  stan is a rogue, pariah state. Only uncivilized and criminal misbehaviour can be expected from it. A considerable part of Indian mainstream media like NDTV, IE, and Communist/Leftist mouthpieces are constantly rooting for stan and its equally vile agencies. That many, though not all, these mouths have got corked, at least for the moment, is s good thing. But what if Kulbhushan Jadhav has already been killed by stan, or been tortured so much that he is already all but clinically dead? stan must be forced by world opinion to produce Jadhav and let him be in the safe custody of the ICJ in a country/place the ICJ nominates.
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                                    Murthy
                                    May 19, 2017 at 1:21 pm
                                    Very interesting comments, Akbar Bhai.... thanks.
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                                      Shahid khan
                                      May 19, 2017 at 3:52 pm
                                      Remember your name is Akbar Khan and Khans cannot act or write like you. such a coward Khan you are.
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                                      devender
                                      May 19, 2017 at 6:40 am
                                      IE seems to follow a rule. All Hindus are bad unless otherwise proved. A Hindu is good only if it is certified by a muslim. Happy to see atleast one article in IE in support of Jadhav. Thanks for this author's name which compelled IE to publish this.
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                                      1. S
                                        Suraj
                                        May 19, 2017 at 7:13 am
                                        You can very well choose not to read IE or start a paper of your own. And pray you stop seeing every problem through the prism of religion.
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                                          Murthy
                                          May 19, 2017 at 1:26 pm
                                          Suraj, You have missed Devender's point. He is saying that it is the Indian Media which sees "every problem through the prism of religion." I agree with him that our Media and "intellectuals" and some political parties who call themselves "secular" are the ones that are fixated upon religion and, I agree with Devender, they are clearly anti-Hindu and anti-Hinduism. Therefore, they are the real communalists and not the RSS / BJP.
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                                            Jay Singh
                                            May 19, 2017 at 2:07 pm
                                            Dear Suraj, 1. What authority have you to tell him to not read IE. It is an open news site and he has every right to use it at the same time heavily criticize him. 2. Why should he start a paper of his own? Why should he give up his job or business to follow your unintelligent ideas just becasue you are wriing i a bad mood becasue your wife beat you up today......again. 3. And finally it is people like you who have been muslim appeasing for so long that even a mention of this god forsaken religion brings our such fiesty defense from Sepoys like you. The days when people like you were called educated and intelligent are over. The age of shallowness is over with the advent of internet. Now it is you who are the brainwashed fools.
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                                            Gopal Sriniwasan
                                            May 19, 2017 at 11:19 am
                                            Venerable and highly respected Ramnathji' Soul must be weeping at the precious baby he created which is now in the hands of a Rogue Editor like its friends in Khaki sitting across the border Paper should be named as stan Express
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