India on Thursday accused Pakistan of blocking all legal remedies to former naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav and accused the country of adopting a “farcical approach” to the case, PTI reported. Jadhav is on death row in Pakistan on charges of espionage.
Pakistan last week claimed it had offered to grant India consular access to Jadhav for the third time, this time without the presence of a security guard. India had got the second consular access to Jadhav on July 16, but the officials who had gone to meet him left without doing so, alleging that they were not provided “unimpeded access”.
At an online press briefing, Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said India had requested for consular access 12 times but that Islamabad had not provided “unhindered and unimpeded access”, News18 reported. Srivastava said India is exploring available options in the matter.
“In the absence of an unimpeded and unhindered consular access as well as of the relevant documents, as a last resort, India tried to file a petition on July 18,” Srivastava said. “However, our Pakistani lawyer informed that a review petition could not be filed in the absence of power of attorney and supporting documents related to the case of Jadhav,” he added.
Srivastava also accused Pakistan of creating confusion over the last date of filing the review petition by Jadhav against his death sentence handed down by an Army court in April 2017. Pakistan had earlier this month said that July 20 was the last date of filing the review petition .“Initially, they [Pakistan] indicated that a petition has to be filed by no later than 19 July,” Srivastava said. “Subsequently, Pakistan indicated that the time limit to file a review petition shall expire on 20 July.”
India said Pakistan was “non-serious in its approach and was not interested” in implementing the judgment of the International Court of Justice in letter and spirit.
“The whole exercise of not providing any documents related to the case even after repeated requests, not providing an unimpeded consular access and some reported unilateral action of approaching the High Court on part of Pakistan again exposes the farcical nature of Pakistan’s approach,” Srivastava said. “Pakistan is not only in violation of the judgment of International Court of Justice, but also of its own Ordinance. Pakistan has completely failed to provide the remedy as directed by the ICJ and India reserves its position in the matter, including its rights to avail of further remedies.”
The case so far
A Pakistan military court had sentenced Jadhav to death in April 2017 for allegedly spying for India. Jadhav’s execution was stayed after India moved the International Court of Justice against the verdict in May 2017. India had contended in the court in The Hague that the lack of consular access to Jadhav was a violation of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.
In its July 2019 judgement, the International Court of Justice had concluded that Pakistan had violated the Vienna Convention in its treatment of Jadhav and ordered Islamabad not to execute him at the moment. Following the court’s judgement, Pakistan allowed India access to the former naval officer.
Pakistan had claimed on July 8 that Jadhav had refused to file a review plea against his death sentence. India had rejected the claim. Foreign ministry Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava had alleged that Jadhav had been coerced to forego his rights.