The Islamabad High Court on Monday directed the Pakistan government to allow Indian authorities to appoint a legal representative for former naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav, the Hindustan Times reported. However, the court stipulated that the lawyer should be a Pakistani national. Jadhav is on death row in Pakistan on charges of espionage.
Attorney General Khalid Javed Khan said the court asked that India once again be approached to engage a lawyer who is entitled to practice in Pakistan. However, no option has been given so far to allow Indian lawyers to assist the Pakistani legal team, he added.
The offer to the lawyer will be made through Pakistan’s foreign ministry, the court said. The hearing in the case has been adjourned till September. Pakistan had earlier appointed a lawyer for Jadhav without the consent of the Indian government.
Monday’s hearing came days after the Pakistan government enacted an ordinance that allows a person to move the Islamabad High Court seeking review of a military court’s ruling, according to India Today. This can be done by filing an application within 60 days of its promulgation.
The ordinance was passed by the country’s Lower House of the National earlier this week amid uproar from the Opposition. It also allows Jadhav to file a review plea against his death sentence handed to him by a Pakistan military court in 2017.
In July, India had accused Pakistan of blocking all legal remedies to Jadhav and accused the country of adopting a “farcical approach” to the case. This came days after Pakistan had 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”.
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.