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Kulbhushan Jadhav case: Pakistan in turmoil after ICJ ‘defeat’

It’s clear today that Pakistan is in turmoil at this apparent “defeat” at the hands of India.

Written by Anees Jillani | Islamabad | Updated: May 20, 2017 6:50 pm
kulbhushan jadhav case, kulbhushan jadhav, kulbhushan jadhav verdict, pakistan reaction on jadhav, jadhav pakistan, india news Nawaz Sharif is more worried about his fate than Kulbhushan Jadhav’s. (Source: File Photo)

May 18 appears to be a good day for India and a bad one for Pakistan. Forty-three years ago on this very day, India joined the world’s nuclear club by conducting a nuclear test in Pokhran much to the alarm and embarrassment of Pakistan. The impact of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) order in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case, on the same day, has been no less. Pakistan was euphoric when its lawyers, Khawar Qureshi and Dr Mohammad Faisal, presented their arguments before the ICJ, shown live by many of the TV channels in the country. The arguments by India’s Harish Salve were not shown.

The euphoria was short-lived. On May 18, the ICJ order indicating provisional measures came as a rude shock, particularly to the intelligentsia as well as all those demonstrably overjoyed on TV and social media just a few days back. It’s clear today that Pakistan is in turmoil at this apparent “defeat” at the hands of India. Like in a cricket match where the losing team complains about the umpire, some people are complaining today that Muslim states seldom get a fair judgment from the ICJ.

Many are also ridiculing Khawar Qureshi for charging Pakistan half a million pounds when his Indian counterpart charged only one rupee. Except this fact was never mentioned prior to the release of the Order. The Attorney General who led the Pakistan legal team has been on the defensive, trying to explain that it is just a provisional order and Pakistan will prevail in the main case.

Also read | What was won or lost at The Hague

Imran Khan and other leaders of Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaaf (PTI) have found yet another opportunity to criticize the Nawaz Sharif government for mishandling the whole situation. Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader Sherry Rehman, active on the Track II diplomacy front which aims to bring about peace between India and Pakistan, is ironically calling for a review of the whole strategy.

As for Sartaj Aziz, the foreign affairs advisor, he is at a loss to explain what happened as it was his Foreign Office team at the forefront of the ICJ proceedings. The revelation by Army Chief Qamar Javed Bajwa, that the lawyer who presented Pakistan’s case in the ICJ was arranged by the Army and not the Foreign Office has caused more embarrassment to the Foreign Ministry and the whole government.

The prime minister, who returned after a week-long sojourn in China, has done what he does best in such situations: Hold a meeting with the Army Chief in Islamabad. Sharif is more worried about his fate than Jadhav’s. A team, formed on the orders of the Supreme Court, is looking into his involvement in the purchase of several flats in London worth millions of pounds — this was revealed after the leakage of the Panama documents.

Also read | The task against a cussedly defiant Pakistan lies ahead

There is no doubt that the ICJ’s Order is not a final one. For the moment, the ICJ has simply asked the government of Pakistan to “take all measures at its disposal” to ensure that Jadhav is not executed pending a final judgment of the Court.

But many in Pakistan are calling on the government to go ahead with the execution regardless of what the ICJ says. It is easier said than done. The ICJ is a principle judicial organ of the United Nations. Non-compliance with its judgment can lead to sanctions being imposed by the Security Council. More importantly, it will hurt Pakistan’s position of always adhering to the international legal regime; moreover, Pakistan accuses India of not doing the same.

The thrust of Pakistan’s case in the ICJ is that the court does not have jurisdiction as Jadhav is not covered by the provisions of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations of April 24, 1963. Pakistan has also cited a bilateral agreement of 2008 with India, which it says supercedes its adherence to the Vienna Convention.

Also read | ICJ verdict will add to civil-military tensions in Pakistan

India argued that the ICJ has jurisdiction under Article I of the Optional Protocol to the Vienna Convention, which provides that the Court has jurisdiction over disputes arising out of the interpretation or application of the Vienna Convention.

In this regard, the Court noted that the Parties do indeed appear to differ on the question of India’s consular assistance to Jadhav under the Vienna Convention. It further noted that the alleged failure by Pakistan to provide the requisite consular notifications with regard to the arrest and detention of Jadhav as well as the alleged failure to allow communication and provide access to him appear to be capable of falling within the scope of the Convention.

The ICJ accordingly held that this is sufficient to establish that it has prima facie jurisdiction under Article I of the Optional Protocol. Pakistan now awaits the final outcome of the ICJ. It’s a bit like an India-Pakistan final at the World Cup.

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More From Anees Jillani
  1. A
    akbar khan
    May 21, 2017 at 6:19 am
    Egg, scrambled, plentiful, and full on, on stan's dirty face. That's where it should set and harden big time. But we should be in alert now. That pariah rogue criminal regime is likely to resort to some foul act(s) against us by way of revenge. 'Pindi' should have a bloody nose in the centre of its egg-splattered face.
    1. A
      May 21, 2017 at 1:31 am
      Not all stanis are terrorist, not even fanatics or brainwashed by iltoerant Wahhabis. They are just scared of terrorists funded, trained and sheltered by the Establishment (Army, ISI and timid politiicans). Asane voice prevails. Allah save stan. Allah reprieve stan from the clutches of the Terrorists, good (the ones attaching Afghanistan, Iran, India, and the world) and bad (the ones who have turned Franskenstein)
      1. I
        May 21, 2017 at 1:16 am
        "We are not civilised countries" "Basically, we are animals" Finally, a man who speaks the truth.
        1. kris kumar
          May 20, 2017 at 11:10 pm
          Hostile and arrogant Porkistan have no legs to stand on. Their lies have been exposed. Porkis would have saved their little shame they have left is let the family of Kulbhushan see him and at least they will know he is still alive. Porkis butcher army could do any thing. They have already framed him as a spy and RAW agent the only Indian person they got hold of and using all Porkis media, propa a and military power to frame him as a big catch who have been spreading terrorism. India have over 30 ISI agents and terrorists and Porkis do not want to know them and that is the difference between a terrorist state and democracy.
          1. L
            May 21, 2017 at 4:15 am
            Here is a question for you genius. What was Kulbushan doing with Indian govt issued fake passport in the middle of Baluchistan which even GOI has not denied. Do all you chu tyas travel with fake passports for your work experience in Chabahar?
          2. S
            May 20, 2017 at 10:25 pm
            People, give P_akistanis a break! We all understand what has happened!! P_akistan realizes that it needs a lot of soul-searching to do...let them. The need and teasing is gut-satisfying no doubt, but let us not stoop to the levels of P_akistan, whose existence only depends on need India due to sib rivalry and jealousy for an inability to compete with India on so many fronts.. dia has gotten too far ahead. Let us deal strongly and decisively with the challenges at the border.
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