Pakistan on Thursday said that former Indian navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav, who was awarded death sentence on charges of “involvement in espionage and sabotage activities”, will remain alive till he does not exhaust the right to seek clemency. “Irrespective of ICJ’s stay, Jadhav will remain alive until he has exhausted the right to request for clemency, initially with the COAS (army chief) and later with President,” Foreign Office spokesperson Nafees Zakaria said.
Zakari said the Indian petition at the International Court of Justice was about Jadhav’s entitlement to consular access. “It is not about whether the ICJ can act as a Court of Appeal from Pakistani legal proceedings. That is why Barrister Khawar Qureshi informed the Court that India cannot obtain from the Court what it is seeking. He also told the Court that India is using media to create false impression about the case.”
The spokesperson said India had failed despite reminders to provide information sought on January 23 by Islamabad on the basis of Jadhav’s confession of spying and fomenting terror in Pakistan. He termed the ICJ stay on Jadhav’s hanging as “nothing but usual”.
Asserting that Pakistan’s position in this matter has been made clear, Zakaria said, “We had sought information from India” on January 23, 2017, on the basis of Jadhav’s confession and statements.
“India has not responded despite reminders,” he said.
He also said that in the three previous cases in the ICJ, the request for release or acquittal was not granted by the court, which stated that it does not have the power to give out such orders.
Zakaria said that the case is also about whether Jadhav is entitled to consular access because of the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations and not about whether the ICJ can act as a court of appeal for Pakistani legal proceedings.
He claimed the “propaganda” that the Pakistani side did not counter the Indian argument related to the 2008 consular access agreement is also a “lie”.
The ICJ ruling had triggered criticism of the Pakistan Foreign Office for its “poor handling” and also for its choice of attorney Khawar Qureshi, who presented Pakistan’s case before the ICJ. The ICJ had also stayed the execution of Jadhav till further hearing.
(With inputs from agencies)