The Islamabad High Court on Thursday directed the Pakistan government to give India one more chance to appoint a lawyer to represent Kulbhushan Jadhav, a former naval officer who has been charged with espionage, reported PTI.
Attorney General Khalid Javed Khan told the court that India has not replied to Pakistan’s offer to appoint a lawyer for Jadhav.
Last month, 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 said that the lawyer should be a Pakistani national. However, India wants Jadhav to be represented by an Indian lawyer for filing a review petition against his death sentence in Pakistan.
During Thursday’s hearing, a new bench comprising of Chief Justice Athar Minallah, Justice Amir Farooq and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb ordered the government to send its order on Jadhav to India and adjourned the hearing until October 3. The court said that the judicial review in the case would be a futile exercise if Jadhav did not actively participate in the proceedings, according to Dawn.
“The proceedings before us are aimed at ensuring that the judgement of the international court is given effect,” the court added. “We are mindful of the emphasis laid down by the international court, in its judgement, relating to the need for the review and reconsideration to be effective. We are of the opinion that these proceedings and judicial review, on the basis of the judgement of the international court, may not be meaningful and effective if Commander Jadhav and the government of India decide not to exercise the course of action highlighted in the judgement of the international court.”
Meanwhile, Anurag Srivastava, the official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, said that India is in touch with diplomatic channels and taking all steps to ensure Jadhav’s safety, ANI reported.
Last month, 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.
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.