Pak Parliamentary Panel Unhappy Over Kulbhushan’s Case


New Delhi: A Pakistani parliamentary panel on national security has expressed dissatisfaction over the government’s response on Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav’s case at the ICJ and sought more information about its strategy to defend the case at the next hearing.

The committee met on Tuesday to discuss the Jadhav case at the International Court of Justice (ICJ). Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua and Attorney General Ashtar Ausaf, who will now represent Pakistan in the case, testified before the Parliamentary Committee for National Security, Dawn newspaper reported.

The ICJ had last week through a unanimous verdict on a petition submitted by India stayed Jadhav’s execution till its final decision in the case and sought a report on measures taken for the implementation of the order. Speaker of the committee Ayaz Sadiq in his interaction with media persons after the meeting said members raised critical questions. He acknowledged that most of the members were dissatisfied with the responses by the government officials.
Sadiq said the legal team would go fully prepared to the Hague for their next court appearance.

The speaker said that Pakistan will pursue Jadhav’s case at the ICJ with full preparation on June 8. Sadiq also said that all members of the parliamentary committee discussed the case beyond their political affiliation. Some members said they wanted to understand the government’s strategy in the case. However, they regretted that the government officials, who appeared before the parliamentary body, were either unprepared or were reluctant to share information.

One of the members said there were still lot of options available to Pakistan, but it looked there was still no serious planning. Shireen Mazari, a member of the committee, in a tweet said: “I was correct; government admits they had to register this (2008) bilateral agreement with UN Secretariat which they did on 18 May after ICJ hearing!” Mazari had been arguing that the ICJ did not give weightage to the Pakistan-India bilateral agreement on consular affairs, one of the key arguments given by Pakistan’s legal team, because it had not been registered with the UN secretariat.

Similarly, another member argued that the government should base its defence on Geneva Conventions, whose Article 5 states that someone detained as a spy forfeits his rights of communication. Members further insisted that Pakistan should remain focused on challenging the ICJ jurisdiction in the case instead of delving into its merits.

It was decided that the committee would convene again next Tuesday (May 30) for further deliberations on the issue and reviewing preparations for the June 8 meeting at the ICJ.
Jadhav, 46, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of “involvement in espionage and sabotage activities” against the country. The ICJ on May 18 stayed the execution of Jadhav and also endorsed Indian request for consular access to him. The Pakistan government has come under a lot of criticism for its “mishandling” of the case at ICJ.

Jadhav’s case is the latest flash-point in the tensions between Pakistan and India. The two countries last faced off at the ICJ 18 years ago when Islamabad sought its intervention over the shooting down of its naval aircraft.