Pakistan’s National Assembly on Monday extended by four months an ordinance issued earlier this year to allow former Indian naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav to appeal against his conviction and death sentence in court, Dawn reported on Tuesday. The extension is in accordance with a ruling by the International Court of Justice, where India and Pakistan are engaged in a legal battle.

The International Court of Justice (Review and Reconsideration) Ordinance was promulgated in May and was set to expire on September 17, the Hindustan Times reported on Wednesday.

Earlier this month, the Pakistan government had approached the Islamabad High Court to appoint a defence lawyer to represent Jadhav for filing the appeal against his conviction and sentencing. On September 3, the court ordered the Pakistan government to give India another opportunity to appoint a lawyer to represent Jadhav. It will now hear the case on October 5.

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. The court said that the lawyer should be a Pakistani national. But India wants Jadhav to be represented by an Indian lawyer.

The case

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.

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.

Last month, New Delhi had once again accused Islamabad of failing to provide unimpeded consular access to Jadhav.