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Kulbhushan Jadhav case: Pakistan calls Salve’s claim on back-channel talks ‘baseless and inaccurate’

During an online interaction, Salve, India's legal counsel in the case at the ICJ, had said India resorted to “back-channel” efforts to "persuade" Islamabad to release Jadhav.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Published: May 10, 2020 7:11:40 pm
Back-channel used to ‘urge’ Pakistan to release Kulbhushan Jadhav: Harish Salve Kulbhushan Jadhav was apprehended on March 3, 2016 after he illegally crossed into Pakistan from Iran, according to Pakistani officials.

Pakistan said on Sunday it had “fully complied” with the judgment of the International Court of Justice in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case while rejecting the “baseless and inaccurate” allegations by India’s lead counsel Harish Salve.

During an online interaction, Salve, India’s legal counsel in the case at the ICJ, had said India resorted to “back-channel” efforts to “persuade” Islamabad to release Jadhav, a former Indian Navy officer who is on death row in Pakistan on charges of spying and terrorist activities.

The Indian Express has learnt that National Security Advisor Ajit Doval had, in one of his interactions with then Pakistan NSA, Nasser Khan Janjua, “gently nudged” Pakistan to release Jadhav. Salve also said that till date, Pakistan had refused to share the FIR, the chargesheet or the military court judgment.

“We firmly reject the Indian Counsel’s baseless and inaccurate assertion that Pakistan has not complied with the ICJ’s judgment in the case. Pakistan has fully complied with the judgment and remains committed to continue doing so as the case proceeds further,” the Dawn quoted Pakistan’s Foreign Office Spokesperson Aisha Farooqui as saying.

Farooqui further said Pakistan had granted India consular access to Jadhav and was processing measures for effective review and reconsideration as per the guidelines provided by the ICJ in its judgment, Dawn reported.

“It is regrettable that Salve has chosen to make statements which are inaccurate and misrepresent facts,” she said while adding that Pakistan followed “all its international obligations”.

In the online session organised by Akhil Bharatiya Adhivakta Parishad, an all-India lawyers’ association associated with the RSS, Salve said India needed to decide whether to go to ICJ for further consequential directions as Pakistan had not moved ahead

“We were hoping that through the back-channel, we may be able to persuade Pakistan to let him go. If they want to say on humanitarian grounds or whatever, we want him back. We said, let him go. Because it’s become a big ego problem in Pakistan. So, we were hoping they would let him go, they haven’t,” Salve said.

“We (India) have been writing to Pakistan asking them to show evidence against Jadhav (in order) to better assist him. They refuse to part with it. We will not give it to you (they say). I think they (Pakistan) have a serious problem on their hands. Other than the confession, they have nothing,” he further said.

According to Pakistan, Jadhav was arrested on March 3, 2016. India was informed on March 25, 2016, when the Pakistan Foreign Secretary raised the matter with the Indian High Commissioner in Islamabad. India immediately sought consular access at the earliest.

Jadhav was sentenced to death on charges of espionage and terrorism in April 2017. In May 2017, India moved the ICJ against the “farcical trial” by Pakistan’s military court.

In July last year, the ICJ, in its verdict, directed Pakistan to allow consular access and effectively review the death sentence. The court observed that Pakistan had breached international law by not granting consular access.

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