ICJ to announce verdict in Kulbhushan case on July 17

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LONDON: The International Court of Justice (ICJ) will announce its verdict in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case on July 17, the sources in the Foreign Office, Islamabad have confirmed on Thursday. Jadhav — a serving commander of the Indian Navy associated with Indian spy agency Research and Analysis Wing — was arrested on March 3, 2016, from Balochistan on allegations of espionage and terrorism.

Earlier, talking to M. Sarwar, Chief Editor, ‘The Nation’ in London, Barrister Khawar Qureshi QC said that the time has come when the International Court of Justice (ICJ) will announce its verdict in Kulbhushan Jadhav case and most likelihood; it would be announced in third week of July. “We are convinced that in wake of our strong arguments, the judgement would be in our favour defending our stance”.

Picture taken during the conversation at a meeting shows M. Sarwar and Barrister Khawar Qureshi QC. (Nation picture)

“We submitted our arguments and pleaded the case on strong footings and it is entirely upto the honourable court to deliver its decision. We are convinced that the judgement would validate our point of view in this important case.

“Our point of view is genuine and valid, arguments are strong”, verdict would validate our stance. We are fully prepared to proceed further if find it necessary”, he insisted.

Jadhav, 48, a retired Indian Navy officer, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of “espionage and terrorism” after a closed trial in April 2017. His sentencing evoked a sharp reaction in India.

India moved the ICJ in May 2017 for the “egregious violation” of the provisions of the Vienna Convention by Pakistan by repeatedly denying New Delhi consular access to Mr Jadhav. The four-day public hearing of the Jadhav case in the International Court of Justice (ICJ), in Peace Palace in The Hague, concluded on Thursday, 21 February.

India maintains that Pakistani authorities arrested, detained, tried and sentenced to death on 10 April 2017 an Indian national, Mr. Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav. Initially, on 25 March 2016 India was informed about the alleged arrest of Jadhav and that very day India sought consular access. On 30 March 2016, India sent a reminder reiterating its request for consular access.

In addition, thirteen more reminders were sent. India has maintained that Jadhav is its national and a former naval officer who was carrying out his business in Iran. While he was in Iran, he was abducted, brought to Pakistan, and tried on fabricated charges of espionage and terrorism in the Pakistani Military Court.

Meanwhile, the facts according to Pakistan are somewhat different. It alleges that Kulbushan Jadhav is a spy, working in Baluchistan, on “India’s official policy of terror.”  Pakistan cites grounds of national security to support its claim.

India has questioned the functioning of Pakistan’s military courts and urged the top UN court to annul Mr Jadhav’s death sentence, which is based on an “extracted confession”.

Khawar Qureshi QC referred his arguments that Pakistan has asked the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to “dismiss or declare inadmissible” India’s claim for relief to Kulbhushan Jadhav, who is on a death row in the country.

“India’s claim for relief must be dismissed or declared inadmissible. India’s claim for relief (in the Jadhav case) remains as far-fetched now as it was then (May 8, 2017),” he told the judges in his concluding remarks.

It may be recalled that closing the arguments, Pakistan’s Attorney General Anwar Mansoor Khan said, “India seeks relief which they cannot claim from this court.”

Harish Salve, who was representing India in the case, said that the time has come for the ICJ to make Article 36 a potent weapon for protecting human rights. On Pakistan’s military courts, he said the International Commission of Jurists and European Parliament have criticised their functioning and added that anything diluting provisions of Vienna Convention must fail.