National News

India has not explained Kulbhushan Jadhav’s passport, Pakistan says at ICJ

Counsel Khawar Qureshi claimed that the former Indian Navy officer had a passport in a Muslim name.

The International Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands, on Monday heard the bilateral case between India and Pakistan over the death sentence issued to former Indian Navy officer Kulbhushan Jadav. The Indian delegation was led by Dr Deepak Mittal and represented by senior lawyer Harish Salve.

India has presented its arguments before the court and accused Pakistan of not providing either consular access to the prisoner, who Pakistan claims was a spy, or sharing the chargesheet in the case. Salve said the urgency of the case had forced New Delhi to approach the international court at such short notice.

Pakistan refuted all charges against them and said that Jadhav was given a “fair trial”, and also claimed that his passport bore a Muslim name – something they allege India has refused to explain.

Here is how the day panned out:

7.25 pm: The proceedings come to an end. The ICJ says it will issue an order in a public hearing as soon as possible.

7.20 pm: Qureshi says Jadhav was given a “fair trial” in the country.

7.15 pm: We will not respond to charges that we have violated the Vienna Convention, says Qureshi. The Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations lays out a framework for relations between independent countries. It also forms the basis for immunity for diplomats.

7.10 pm: Pakistan says there has been no evidence to back India’s charges against them. “It is unfortunate that India comes to this court, adamant that Jadhav is an Indian national but does nothing to establish that at all”.

7.05 pm: Pakistan insists again that India’s application at the ICJ be cancelled. Qureshi says the ICJ cannot decide on matters of “national security”.

7 pm: “There has been deafening silence and no response from India on Pakistan’s accusations on Kulbhushan Jadhav,” says Qureshi. He adds that an international court is no place for “political grandstanding”.

6.55 pm: Qureshi says Pakistan gave India a copy of the FIR against Jadhav, and that India had created a “sense of urgency” about the trial.

6.45 pm: Speaking for Pakistan, QC Khawar Qureshi said that Jadhav was not eligible for consular access. He says they were “ambushed” into appearing at the ICJ on such short notice.

6.40 pm: Pakistan says that India’s application regarding Jadhav was unnecessary, and that it was using the ICJ as a “stage for political theatre”. The country’s representative also said that India had not explained Jadhav’s passport either.

6.37 pm: Pakistan is not allowed to broadcast Jadhav’s alleged confession.

6.35 pm: The hearing has resumed, with Pakistan responding to India’s charges. Pakistan Attorney General Ashtar Ausaf Ali makes his remarks.

3.10 pm: India concludes its arguments. Pakistan will present its at around 6.30 pm IST.

3 pm: In his final remarks, Salve says that Pakistan, in a letter on March 21, told India that consular access can be granted only if India assisted in the investigation. “The allegations were made even as Jadhav’s basic rights were denied. India has a strong case that provisional measures be executed that Pakistan take all measures to ensure Jadhav is not executed.”

2.58 pm: Salve adds that Jadhav did not get fair legal representation because Pakistan’s bar association had threatened any lawyer’s licence for representing him, The Indian Express reported.

2.50 pm: Salve says the trial in Pakistan was conducted without anyone informing Jadhav of his rights. He also says India was never given the chargesheet in the case.

2.45 pm: Salve said India had sought consular access to Jadhav the very day he had been detained by Pakistan. “The Vienna Convention has been breached by Pakistan in the issue of consular access to Jadhav... This underlines the farcical nature of the trial.”

2.26 pm: India says fears Kulbhushan Jadhav will be executed before its arguments are heard in the case.

2.12 pm: Salve urges for an immediate annulment of the Pakistan court’s death sentence against Jadhav.

2.04 pm: Citing precedents including cases involving Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Belgium and Senegal, Salve said the ICJ had ruled that an execution was “an irreparable damage to justice”. He stressed that if Pakistan executes Jadav during the ICJ’s hearing of the matter, it would be committing a breach of the Vienna Convention.

1.45 pm: Deepak Mittal has started speaking at the ICJ. He says that Kulbhushan Jadhav’s parents had applied for a visa to visit Pakistan but that was no response to their applications.

The case:

Jadhav was arrested by Pakistani officials on March 3 last year. He was accused of spying for Indian intelligence agency, the Research and Analysis Wing, and aiding separatist elements in restive Balochistan. Pakistan had later released a video which showed Jadhav allegedly confessing to his crimes. India has questioned not only the authenticity of the video but has also accused Pakistan of torturing Jadhav into “confessing”.

While the Pakistan Army had claimed Jadhav had been arrested in Saravan at the Iran-Pakistan border, Baloch leader Sarfaraz Bugti said he was picked up from Chaman in Balochistan. India, meanwhile, alleged he was kidnapped by Pakistani forces while in Iran on a business engagement.

Pakistan has denied India consular access to Jadhav 16 times, which New Delhi had said was a violation of the 1963 Vienna Convention of Consular Relations. In April, India had also sought visas for Jadhav’s parents and consular access to him, but the request was denied. The Centre had also sought Jadhav’s health certificate, a copy of the death sentence and the chargesheet filed against him from Pakistan. These, too, were not granted.

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