Media Matters

How Pakistan’s press reacted to ICJ stay on Jadhav execution: Setback, unprepared, Jindal connect?

Many newspapers questioned Islamabad’s handling of the case, while some held out hope that the final decision will go their way.

The International Court of Justice’s order on Thursday calling on Pakistan not to execute former Indian Navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav, who Islamabad accuses of being an Indian spy, was widely seen as a success for India, which took the unusual step of internationalising the issue. Across the border, however, the response was the opposite. Pakistani newspapers carried stories of politicians, lawyers and others criticising their government for losing the preliminary battle to India – and, in some cases, for even turning up at the ICJ.

An op-ed column by Yasser Latif Hamdani in Daily Times said that Pakistan should have seen this coming, and that any arguments that Islamabad should have refused to go to the ICJ would have yielded no impact. Hamdani adds that India’s decision to go beyond bilateral approaches should open up vistas for Pakistan in the future, but adds that in this case, “the best approach would be to ensure that Kalbhushan Jhadav is accorded an appeals process that is up to the highest possible standards of justice”.

In the same pages, Reema Omer makes a point that would be familiar to many Indians as well: TV channels need to stop misleading the public based on ideas of nationalism.

“It seems we have become incapable of understanding the law objectively and instead use it project our own aspirations. In Jadhav’s case this was all the more striking as nationalist sentiment, not a dispassionate assessment of the law, was the primary driving factor behind the “expertise” on display, misleading the public on the applicable law and hence Pakistan’s chances, or lack thereof, of “winning”.”

The country’s oldest newspaper, Dawn carried a story featuring Pakistan experts questioning the handling of the case. Among many who took issue with the ICJ’s decision, the piece also quoted human rights activist Asma Jahangir who struck a different note, saying Pakistan should not make this a matter of ego.

“Who gave the opinion to deny consular access to Jadhav in the first place? ... Will it not endanger the rights of the prisoners languishing in Indian jails? Can one change international law?”

The paper also quoted Opposition politicians in Pakistan lambasting the government for its approach to the case. The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf spokesperson in fact, connected the matter to another story that had emerged a few weeks ago, and demanded that the Pakistan prime minister “disclose all details of his covert meetings with Indian businessman Jindal.”

The Express Tribune also carried a piece featuring criticism of the Pakistan government’s handling of the case, but in another story it relayed comments from the government as well. The piece featured quotes from Pakistan’s Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting who said that Opposition parties should not pass judgment on issues of national security, “as it will be against the sovereignty of the country”.

One of the “must-read” stories on the website of ARY News looked into the question of whether ICJ decisions in cases like this are binding upon member countries, concluding that they are. It added, however that “it is pertinent to note here that the ICJ order on Kulbhushan Jadhav case is not the final judgment of the court.”

Lots of Pakistani politicians and analysts also responded to the case on Twitter.

We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

“My body instantly craves chai and samosa”

German expats talk about adapting to India, and the surprising similarities between the two cultures.

The cultural similarities between Germany and India are well known, especially with regards to the language. Linguists believe that Sanskrit and German share the same Indo-Germanic heritage of languages. A quick comparison indeed holds up theory - ratha in Sanskrit (chariot) is rad in German, aksha (axle) in Sanskrit is achse in German and so on. Germans have long held a fascination for Indology and Sanskrit. While Max Müller is still admired for his translation of ancient Indian scriptures, other German intellectuals such as Goethe, Herder and Schlegel were deeply influenced by Kalidasa. His poetry is said to have informed Goethe’s plays, and inspired Schlegel to eventually introduce formal Indology in Germany. Beyond the arts and academia, Indian influences even found their way into German fast food! Indians would recognise the famous German curry powder as a modification of the Indian masala mix. It’s most popular application is the currywurst - fried sausage covered in curried ketchup.

It is no wonder then that German travellers in India find a quite a lot in common between the two cultures, even today. Some, especially those who’ve settled here, even confess to Indian culture growing on them with time. Isabelle, like most travellers, first came to India to explore the country’s rich heritage. She returned the following year as an exchange student, and a couple of years later found herself working for an Indian consultancy firm. When asked what prompted her to stay on, Isabelle said, “I love the market dynamics here, working here is so much fun. Anywhere else would seem boring compared to India.” Having cofounded a company, she eventually realised her entrepreneurial dream here and now resides in Goa with her husband.

Isabelle says there are several aspects of life in India that remind her of home. “How we interact with our everyday life is similar in both Germany and India. Separate house slippers to wear at home, the celebration of food and festivals, the importance of friendship…” She feels Germany and India share the same spirit especially in terms of festivities. “We love food and we love celebrating food. There is an entire countdown to Christmas. Every day there is some dinner or get-together,” much like how Indians excitedly countdown to Navratri or Diwali. Franziska, who was born in India to German parents, adds that both the countries exhibit the same kind of passion for their favourite sport. “In India, they support cricket like anything while in Germany it would be football.”

Having lived in India for almost a decade, Isabelle has also noticed some broad similarities in the way children are brought up in the two countries. “We have a saying in South Germany ‘Schaffe Schaffe Hausle baue’ that loosely translates to ‘work, work, work and build a house’. I found that parents here have a similar outlook…to teach their children to work hard. They feel that they’ve fulfilled their duty only once the children have moved out or gotten married. Also, my mother never let me leave the house without a big breakfast. It’s the same here.” The importance given to the care of the family is one similarity that came up again and again in conversations with all German expats.

While most people wouldn’t draw parallels between German and Indian discipline (or lack thereof), Germans married to Indians have found a way to bridge the gap. Take for example, Ilka, who thinks that the famed differences of discipline between the two cultures actually works to her marital advantage. She sees the difference as Germans being highly planning-oriented; while Indians are more flexible in their approach. Ilka and her husband balance each other out in several ways. She says, like most Germans, she too tends to get stressed when her plans don’t work out, but her husband calms her down.

Consequently, Ilka feels India is “so full of life. The social life here is more happening; people smile at you, bond over food and are much more relaxed.” Isabelle, too, can attest to Indians’ friendliness. When asked about an Indian characteristic that makes her feel most at home, she quickly answers “humour.” “Whether it’s a taxi driver or someone I’m meeting professionally, I’ve learnt that it’s easy to lighten the mood here by just cracking a few jokes. Indians love to laugh,” she adds.

Indeed, these Germans-who-never-left as just diehard Indophiles are more Indian than you’d guess at first, having even developed some classic Indian skills with time. Ilka assures us that her husband can’t bargain as well as she does, and that she can even drape a saree on her own.

Isabelle, meanwhile, feels some amount of Indianness has seeped into her because “whenever its raining, my body instantly craves chai and samosa”.

Like the long-settled German expats in India, the German airline, Lufthansa, too has incorporated some quintessential aspects of Indian culture in its service. Recognising the centuries-old cultural affinity between the two countries, Lufthansa now provides a rich experience of Indian hospitality to all flyers on board its flights to and from India. You can expect a greeting of Namaste by an all-Indian crew, Indian food, and popular Indian in-flight entertainment options. And as the video shows, India’s culture and hospitality have been internalized by Lufthansa to the extent that they are More Indian Than You Think. To experience Lufthansa’s hospitality on your next trip abroad, click here.

Play

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Lufthansa as part of their More Indian Than You Think initiative and not by the Scroll editorial team.