The Pakistan Parliament on Wednesday enacted a law that will give former Indian naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav the right to appeal against his conviction and death sentence, reported the Dawn.

A Pakistani military court had sentenced Jadhav to death in April 2017 for allegedly spying for India. Jadhav’s execution was stopped after India moved the International Court of Justice against the verdict in May 2017.

In July 2019, the International Court of Justice directed Pakistan to give India consular access to Jadhav and also ensure a review of his conviction.

On Wednesday, a resolution moved by Pakistan’s Law Minister Farogh Nasim on the matter, was passed with majority of the members voting in favour.

The Pakistan Parliament’s joint session was comprised of members of the Senate and the National Assembly. The session was called to pass a series of laws – including the one related to Jadhav – that were approved by the National Assembly in June.

On June 10, the House had approved a bill that provided Jadhav the right for to file a review appeal against his conviction. The Bill is now pending an assent from Pakistan’s president.

The International Court of Justice (Review and Re-consideration) Bill, 2021, will also allow Jadhav to have consular access in accordance with the verdict of the United Nations’ legal organ.

The Bill empowers High Courts to review and reconsider cases where the International Court of Justice passes an order in respect of rights of a foreigner under the Vienna Convention of Consular Relations. It also provides for High Courts to review cases when the foreigner is treated unfairly in respect to his rights under the convention.

Such a foreigner can file a petition before a High Court for review and reconsideration in regard to an order of conviction, the Bill said.

Who is Kulbhushan Jadhav?

Jadhav is an Indian citizen who is on death row in Pakistan. Pakistan has claimed that he had been spying for India’s Research and Analysis Wing when he was caught in 2016 – a claim that India denies.

India, which rarely approaches international forums for justice, had decided to approach the ICJ in this matter, asking for a review of Pakistan’s treatment of Jadhav which it claimed was illegal.

India maintains that the former naval officer was working on his private business in Iran when he was kidnapped by Pakistan.

In 2017, India had contended in the court in The Hague that the lack of consular access to Jadhav was in violation of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.

In July 2019, the International Court of Justice ordered Pakistan not to execute Jadhav. Following the order, Pakistan allowed India access to the former naval officer. However, India has alleged that Pakistan has not provided unimpeded consular access to Jadhav.