Pakistan on Wednesday told the International Court of Justice that Kulbhushan Jadhav – the former Indian Navy officer accused of espionage by Pakistan – does not come under the purview of the Vienna Convention since he is a convicted spy. Islamabad also rejected New Delhi’s request for consular access to Jadhav once again, The Express Tribune reported.
According to the Vienna Convention, the International Court of Justice would have jurisdiction over disputes concerning consular relations, unless the countries have agreed to another forum to resolve disagreements. Pakistan claimed that India did indeed come to an agreement in 2008, under which the countries decided that, in cases related to national security, questions of consular access would be decided on a case by case basis internally.
“Lack of explanation on how a serving naval commander was operating under secondment to Indian spy agency Research and Analysis Wing was travelling under an assumed name leads to only one conclusion that India wanted consular access to the information he had gathered,” Pakistan said in a submission to the court in The Hague on Wednesday.
Attorney General of Pakistan Ashtar Ausaf Ali told Geo News that the case would most likely be taken up for hearing around April or May after the recently elected judges of the international court take their oath on February 6. The ICJ will decide whether the case will move forward for hearing or whether the two parties need to submit more documents.
At the hearings, Islamabad is likely to argue that India cannot invoke the jurisdiction of the international court as it allegedly sent Jadhav to Pakistan to spy and fund terrorism, The Express Tribune reported. It may also bring up human rights violations it alleges India committed in Jammu and Kashmir, including the use of pump action guns.
Kulbhushan Jadhav’s mother and wife will meet him in Pakistan on December 25. Jadhav was sentenced to death by Pakistan on charges of espionage. In May, the International Court of Justice had stayed Jadhav’s execution and told Pakistan to provide him consular access. He was arrested on March 3, 2016, from Balochistan, after he allegedly entering Pakistan from Iran.