India’s Ministry of External Affairs on Thursday said that the country wants Kulbhushan Jadhav to be represented by an Indian lawyer for filing a review petition against his death sentence in Pakistan. Jadhav, a former naval officer, has been charged with espionage in Pakistan.
“We are in touch with Pakistan through diplomatic channels,” the ministry’s spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said at the weekly press briefing. “We believe that for a free and fair trial in keeping with the letter and spirit of ICJ [International Court of Justice judgment], we have asked that Jadhav be represented by an Indian lawyer.”
Srivastava, however, added that it is important that Pakistan addresses the core issues in the case, which involve the provision of relevant documents as well as providing unimpeded consular access to Jadhav.
On August 3, the Islamabad High Court had constituted a larger three-member bench to hear the petition filed by the government to appoint a legal representative for Jadhav. However, the court stipulated that the lawyer should be a Pakistani national.
The new bench includes Chief Justice Athar Minallah, Justice Amir Farooq and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb. The next hearing in the case is scheduled for September 3.
On August 6, the foreign ministry said that Pakistan has not reached out to India regarding the Islamabad High Court’s order for the appointment of a lawyer. Last week, New Delhi had once again accused Islamabad of failing to provide unimpeded consular access to Jadhav.
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. On July 17, Pakistan had claimed it had offered to grant India consular access to Jadhav for the third 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 alleged that they were not provided “unimpeded access” and that he was visibly under stress due to the presence of Pakistani officials at the meeting.
A Pakistani 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.