Pakistan on Tuesday urged the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to dismiss India’s plea in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case, as New Delhi had asked for annulment of the former Navy officer’s conviction by Pakistan’s military and his release from custody.
Pakistan’s counsel called India’s demand for acquittal, release and return as “outlandish”.
On Wednesday, India will have a maximum 90 minutes to submit its final arguments; Pakistan will also get 90 minutes to respond to India’s arguments on Thursday.
Presenting the submissions on the second day, Pakistan’s Attorney General Anwar Mansoor Khan said Jadhav was a serving Indian Navy officer and a spy who entered Pakistan on an authentic Indian passport under a Muslim name when he was arrested in March 2016. Khan cited testimony by a British expert to bolster his submission that the passport was genuine, a claim not authenticated by New Delhi in the past.
He accused India of interfering in Pakistan by training and arming anti-Pakistan militias to create trouble in Balochistan and Sindh provinces, and elsewhere in the country. “India’s policy is to destroy Pakistan,” Khan contended.
“Jadhav, a serving officer of Indian Navy working with RAW (Research and Analysis Wing, handling India’s external intelligence), entered Pakistan with a predetermined aim on instructions of the Government of India to assist, plan and cause terrorism in Balochistan and Sindh and other places in the country,” he claimed.
Khan said Jadhav had admitted it before a judicial magistrate.
Making submissions on Pakistan’s behalf, its counsel Khawar Qureshi said, “India’s application should be declared inadmissible by reason of India’s conduct in this context manifesting abuse of rights, lack of good faith, illegality, lack of clean hands and misrepresentation. These are proceedings launched for political theatre, making a claim for relief that is unsustainable, and that should be dismissed.”
Responding to India’s argument that Jadhav has been denied consular access, Qureshi said customary international law provided for an exception to counsellor access in the case of an individual reasonably suspected of espionage, and that a red line exists and it should be clearly shown. He said, “A decision regarding Jadhav’s nationality has not yet been made, (and) India did not state whether he is Kulbushan Jadhav or Hussain Mubarak Patel.”
“How can India demand consular access when it did not confirm Jadhav’s nationality,” Qureshi asked.
Qureshi, who gave an electronic presentation, said Jadhav was arrested by Pakistani authorities in Balochistan, and not in Iran, as claimed by India.
He tried to make a case that Jadhav had an Indian passport under a false name – Hussain Mubarak Patel – and raised questions about it.
Harish Salve, former Solicitor General of India presenting India’s case before ICJ, had on Monday said, “India seeks relief in declaring that the trial by the military court in Pakistan hopelessly fails to satisfy even the minimum standards of due process…and should be declared unlawful.”
He had said military courts of Pakistan cannot command the confidence of this court and should not be sanctified by a direction to them to review and reconsider the case. “India seeks annulment of Jadhav’s conviction, and directions that he be released forthwith,” Salve had said.
The Pakistan’s counsel said there were avenues in Pakistan’s courts to review and reconsider cases, and quoted examples to substantiate his claim. “India said Pakistan has no appellate procedure…it is offensive and patronising,” the counsel said.