Pakistan will put together a new team of lawyers to further argue the Kulbhushan Jadhav case at the International Court of Justice, reports said on Friday. Foreign Affairs Adviser Sartaj Aziz (pictured above) told the media that the new legal team will “present Pakistan’s stance vigorously” at the ICJ. “Pakistan’s security is so important and we have to maintain our fundamental sovereign right,” he said.
Jadhav was convicted of espionage and sentenced to death by Pakistan, following which India took the case to the United Nations court. The court had stayed Jadhav’s execution until the hearing is over, but had ordered Pakistan to give India consular access to the prisoner, pointing out that they had not done that so far. However, Aziz said that no decision has been made regarding giving India consular access to Jadhav. The ICJ’s decisions are considered legally binding on both India and Pakistan.
Azia said, “Pakistan’s security is so important and we have to maintain our fundamental sovereign right,” IANS reported. The report added that Pakistan Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said Jadhav’s case was concerned with the country’s national security and there would “be no compromise on it”. “ICJ has only granted formal stay on the death sentence of Jadhav,” he said.
There has been speculation that Pakistan’s legal team has been criticised for not arguing its case at the ICJ clearly. “The consensus emerging in Pakistan is that while the country has a case, it was the legal team that let us down,” said analyst Zahid Hussain told Hindustan Times.
The ICJ’s decision to hold Jadhav’s execution came as a huge relief to the Indian government, who is now readying for the next set of hearings in the case. The Centre has not commented on whether it is keeping the same legal team as before or changing it.