Pakistan delivered its final arguments in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case at the International Court of Justice at The Hague on Thursday evening, the fourth day of the hearings. The hearings were held under the presidency of Judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf. The court has now retired for deliberations. It has not yet declared a date for its judgement.
Jadhav is on death row in Pakistan after being charged with spying for India in 2016. India had moved the international court against the death sentence in May 2017, after which his execution was stayed.
On Monday, the first day of the hearings, India had sought Jadhav’s release from a Pakistani prison. On Tuesday, Pakistan presented its arguments and claimed India was seeking relief for a terrorist, and urged the court to dismiss the case. India on Wednesday claimed that Jadhav had become a pawn in Pakistan’s tool to divert international scrutiny from itself.
Here are the updates from the hearing:
10.20 pm: The hearing concludes. The agents of the two countries will be informed about the date of judgement in due course of time, says ICJ President, Judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf.
10.18 pm: The process of judicial review in Pakistan is robust, says Khan. He reiterates the demand that India’s case must be dismissed.
10.17 pm: Khan cites Gujarat riots, the Samjhauta Express blast, Kathua rape case and the use of pellet guns in Kashmir as examples of a lack of judicial review in India. The Indian Army’s court of inquiry “dismissed all charges against officers charged with killing civilians”, he adds.
10.13 pm: “India has become a judge, the executioner and call themselves the victim,” Khan says, while mentioning the Pulwama terror attack, where 40 CRPF personnel were killed. India has no reply to Pakistan when it asks for proof, he adds.
10.12 pm: Pakistan lists out alleged human rights violations by the Indian government in Kashmir and the alleged lack of judicial review in the Indian judicial system.
10.10 pm: Khan cites the Afzal Guru case. “The Supreme Court of India upheld his death sentence on the ground of satisfying ‘collective conscience of the society’. Is that a ground for hanging,” Khan asks.
10.08 pm: Uncalled for criticism has been made on the judicial system of Pakistan, says Khan. “Pakistan has a very robust judicial review and reconsideration system.”
“Some trials cannot be made public for reasons of national security,” he says. “But, fair trials are an absolute right in Pakistan.”
10.06 pm: Pakistan’s agent, Attorney Anwar Mansoor Khan, begins speaking.
10.05 pm: “Pakistan expected India to show some respect to this court, if not Pakistan,” Qureshi says. “India’s conduct shows total disregard for truth and contempt for accuracy.”
“India’s claim for relief must be dismissed or declared inadmissible,” says Qureshi as he finishes his arguments.
10.02 pm: “I have been forced to use forceful language in the face of the brazen distortion of 2008 agreement and doctoring of military experts’ report by India,” says Qureshi.
10 pm: “Peshawar High Court had an effective review and reconsideration mechanism as has been concluded by independent experts,” says Qureshi. “Then India’s response is that the decision of Peshawar High Court is irrelevant because it is the subject of appeal. That stance is incorrect.”
It is improper to castigate Pakistani courts, he adds.
9.56 pm: Qureshi criticises India for accusing Pakistan, “a sovereign state” of concealing facts. “And I am being asked to maintain moderation,” says Qureshi.
9.51 pm: “Pakistan has maintained dignity in the face of India’s contumelious conduct,” says Qureshi. He adds that India has to engage in “linguistic gymnastics”.
9.45 pm: “India’s conduct cannot go unchecked,” Qureshi adds. “This is the court of international community, not fantasy not fiction.” India’s main stance is that the behaviour of states is irrelevant, which is incorrect, Qureshi adds.
India is seeking to twist the facts and break the law to suit its purpose, he claims.
9.40 pm: Qureshi continues to point out alleged inconsistencies in India’s submissions. “Is India’s approach suggestive of ‘hammer the facts, hammer the law’,” he asks. He says providing an explanation for India’s statement that Jadhav was kidnapped from Iran would “expose” it for the fiction that is.
9.33 pm: Qureshi continues to claim India has double standards.
9.32 pm: “India believes it does not have the duty to ensure accuracy in its pleadings or effect timely corrections and that there are no consequences for its blatant inaccuracies,” says Qureshi. “India must accept that it placed an inaccurate document in the court.”
9.30 pm: “India, in its desperation and total disregard for the truth, India is reduced to equating words allegedly attributed to the secretary of the Lahore High Court Bar Association with the formal position of... Pakistan. How is this not risible?” says Qureshi.
9.28 pm: India is trying to deflect, distract and evade at these proceedings, he adds.
9.27 pm: India’s accusations have no evidential basis, he claims.
9.26 pm: “India persists to the very end in seeking to distract and deflect attention from its failure to answer critical questions, by levelling accusations against Pakistan,” he says.
9.25 pm: This case in not only about denial of consular access to Jadhav, says Qureshi.
9.23 pm: Qureshi takes a dig at Indian counsel Harish Salve for seeking “studied moderation” in its responses. “I’m sorry if after many hours of study of those words, I had to draw the conclusions that I did,” he says.
9.20 pm: “India now, finally, asserts that the report of the Military Law Experts is ‘irrelevant’ and should be ‘completely disregarded’,” says Qureshi. “After having doctored the report, India enthusiastically embraced the report as being supportive of its conclusions.”
9.14 pm: “Characters from wonderland have no place in this court,” says Qureshi. He adds that Pakistan will adopt a “real approach” to language.
9.12 pm: “The double standards India has engaged in is evident from its submissions itself,” Qureshi says, according to Bar and Bench.
9.07 pm: Qureshi adds that India failed to come up with any argument, and only criticised Pakistan and engaged in rhetoric. “India persists in contumelious conduct. India fails to engage with the evidence that states made an exception to espionage prior to the VCCR being adopted — that state practice was unaffected by VCCR,” he adds
Watch the hearings LIVE here.
9.05 pm: India used its time in oral pleadings on Wednesday to “deflect, distract and evade” in the hope that it can shift the spotlight away from its own unlawful and abusive conduct, says Pakistan’s counsel Khawar Qureshi.
9 pm: The hearing begins at the International Court of Justice. The hearings are being held under the presidency of Judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf.
8.45 pm: Arguing India’s case on Monday, counsel Harish Salve had said Pakistan has no substantive defence in the matter and that the country has violated the Vienna Convention. He demanded that Jadhav’s continued custody without consular access be declared unlawful.
Salve claimed that Jadhav had not been given a lawyer and his purported confession appeared to be coaxed. He sought Jadhav’s release and the annulment of his conviction.
8.40 pm: Last week, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar had said: “Whatever we have to do, we will do at the court.”
8.35 pm: Jadhav is on death row in Pakistan after being charged with spying for India in 2016. After Jadhav was sentenced to death, India moved the International Court of Justice against the verdict in May 2017. The court stayed his execution, but a final verdict is pending. In October last year, the International Court of Justice had said it will hold hearingsfrom February 18 to February 21 in the Peace Palace at The Hague in the Netherlands, the seat of the court.