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Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Kulbhushan ‘espionage’ case: Pakistan parliament passes Bill to provide right of review and reconsideration

Pakistan’s leading daily Dawn reported that the International Court of Justice (Review and Re-consideration) Bill, 2020, was moved by Pakistan’s Law Minister Farogh Nasim in the joint sitting of the parliament and it was passed with a majority vote.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: November 17, 2021 8:57:31 pm
Kulbhushan Jadhav. (File)

Pakistan’s parliament Wednesday passed a Bill to provide the right of review and reconsideration in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case to bring into effect the judgment of the International Court of Justice.

Pakistan’s leading daily Dawn reported that the International Court of Justice (Review and Re-consideration) Bill, 2020, was moved by Pakistan’s Law Minister Farogh Nasim in the joint sitting of the parliament and it was passed with a majority vote.

According to Dawn, “The statement of objects and reasons of the bill says that the government of India initiated proceedings against Pakistan in the ICJ concerning alleged violations of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations in the matter of the detention and trial of an Indian national, Commander Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav who was sentenced to death by a military court in Pakistan in April 2017.”

The ICJ gave its judgment on July 17, 2019, wherein it observed that Pakistan was under an obligation to provide by means of its own choosing “effective review and reconsideration” of the conviction and sentence of Jadhav, so as to ensure that full weight was given to the effect of the violation of the rights set forth in Article 36 of the Vienna Convention, taking account of paragraphs 139, 145 and 146 of the judgment.

“In order to give full effect to the said judgment, it is necessary that a mechanism for review and reconsideration of Pakistan’s own choice be provided,” it said.

Jadhav, a former Indian Navy officer, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of espionage and terrorism in April 2017. India approached the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against Pakistan for denial of consular access to Jadhav and challenging the death sentence.

After hearing both sides, the Hague-based ICJ issued a verdict in July, 2019, asking Pakistan to give India consular access to Jadhav and also ensure review of his conviction.

On Wednesday, the joint sitting comprising members of the Senate and the National Assembly was called to pass a set of laws which were passed by the latter in June this year, including one to enable Jadhav to appeal against his conviction but those laws failed to get the nod of the upper house.

The joint sitting is called when the differences between the National Assembly and Senate are unbridgeable. The current impasse was due to the fact that the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and allied parties enjoy majority in the National Assembly but are in minority in the Senate or the upper house.

Earlier, the ICJ (Review and Re-consideration) Bill, 2020 was among the 21 Bills passed by the National Assembly in June but the Senate refused to pass them.

The Pakistan government had also tried to enforce the ICJ verdict through promulgation of a special ordinance in 2019 in the wake of the ICJ verdict.

When the Pakistan government promulgated an ordinance to let Jadhav file a review, he refused. Later, the Pakistan government through its defence secretary filed a case in the Islamabad High Court in 2020 to appoint a defence counsel for Jadhav.

The High Court formed a three-member larger bench in August 2020 which repeatedly asked India to nominate a lawyer from Pakistan for Jadhav but New Delhi so far refused by insisting that it should be given a chance to appoint an Indian lawyer.

The last hearing was on October 5, 2021 and the High Court once again asked the Pakistan government to ask India to appoint the counsel before the next hearing scheduled for December 9.

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