Claiming that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) hadn’t given any order on consular access to Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s Foreign Affairs Advisor Sartaj Aziz on Saturday said it was wrong to conclude that Pakistan lost the case as the court stayed the Jadhav’s execution until further notice. Aziz added that there was insufficient time ahead of the hearing of the case and that the country would strengthen its legal team. India had taken Pakistan to the international court after Jadhav was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court for alleged espionage and subversive activities in March.
“International Court of Justice has not given any order regarding consular access for Kulbhushan Jadhav,” Aziz was quoted saying by news agency PTI. “We will go with a strong team in the next hearing,” he told reporters. Aziz had previously said a new team of lawyers will be constituted to “present Pakistan’s stance vigorously”. Describing Jadhav as “an officer in the Indian Navy who has also admitted to carrying out espionage activities in Pakistan”, Aziz said he was sentenced in accordance with the laws of Pakistan.
Reacting to the interim verdict delivered two days ago by the top UN court, Pakistan had said it would provide ‘solid evidence’ against Jadhav in the court. It claimed Jadhav had confessed, on two occasions, to sabotage, terrorism and subversive activities. Pakistan Foreign Office Spokesperson Nafees Zakaria said India tried to divert global attention by presenting the case from a humanitarian angle, and that the country’s ‘real face’ will be exposed before the world.
Separately, Pakistan’s Punjab Province Law Minister Rana Sanaullah said the country will accept the court’s decision. “We will accept the decision of ICJ on Kulbhushan,” Sanaullah said in the Punjab Assembly. He added, “Although Kulbhushan’s case does not fall in the jurisdiction of the ICJ but Pakistan accepts its decision”.
A 11-member bench of the ICJ, the judicial arm of the United Nations, had unanimously ruled in favour of India’s petition. It directed Pakistan to ‘take all measures at its disposal’ to ensure Jadhav is not executed pending its final judgement.