Islamabad: Pakistan on Wednesday rejected India’s plea for consular access to Kulbushan Jadhav, claiming provisions for the same only applied to “legitimate visitors”, not “spies”.
Jadhav, an Indian national who was arrested by Pakistan in the restive Balochistan province last year, has been sentenced to death for alleged involvement in espionage and terrorism. India moved the International Court of Justice in May, appealing the sentence and calling for his release.
In its counter-response at The Hague-based court, Pakistan claimed Jadhav is not an ordinary person as he had entered the country with the intent of spying and carrying out sabotage activities.
“Lack of explanation on how a serving naval commander was operating under secondment to Indian spy agency Research and Analysis Wing was travelling under an assumed name leads to only one conclusion that India wanted consular access to the information he had gathered,” the counter memorial submitted by Pakistan said, according to The Express Tribune.
The international court will now decide whether to take the case forward for hearing or ask India and Pakistan to submit more documents. The recently elected ICJ judges are scheduled to take oath on February 6. Former Pakistan chief justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani will also serve as an ad-hoc judge in the bench. Geo News, quoting Pakistan attorney general Ashtar Ausaf Ali, reported the case would be taken up for hearing in April or May 2018.
Pakistan’s reply was submitted by the Foreign Office’s Director India, Fariha Bugti. Local media reported the reply was jointly prepared by Ali, Pakistan’s legal team in the case, and officials of the ministry of foreign affairs.
The document includes details of Jadhav’s involvement in alleged subversive activities in Pakistan, his trial and his sentencing. Earlier, a senior official told The Nation newspaper that Pakistan would challenge the jurisdiction of the ICJ to hear Jadhav’s case. “He has been convicted in terrorism cases and there is no room to be soft on him,” he said.
“We will provide evidence to the ICJ to prove his role in the killings of so many Pakistanis. His case at the ICJ should be dismissed.” Another official said Pakistan’s response was based on the Vienna Convention. He said Pakistan’s response included concrete evidence of Jadhav’s confession of involvement in terror-related activities.
“Pakistan’s argument is that the ICJ has no jurisdiction to hear the case of a terrorist who has orchestrated bloodshed in Pakistan . We are hopeful we will win our case,” he said.
Pakistan has rejected more than 30 Indian requests for consular access to Jadhav.