Pakistan blocks all review options for India in Kulbhushan Jadhav case. This happened a day after Pakistan unilaterally approached Islamabad High Court, for the appointment of a lawyer for the review petition in the case of Kulbhushan Jadhav, an ex Indian Naval officer sentenced to death for allegedly being involved in spying for India.
India had to hire a Pakistani lawyer as ‘the last resort’. After India’s repeated requests to Pakistan to provide them with the required documents in the Jadhav’s case, Pakistan did not relent and stated that the documents could only be handed over to an authorized Pakistani lawyer. When India appointed one to obtain the relevant documents, Pakistan did not stand by its words. “To our surprise…when the authorized Pakistani lawyer approached the concerned authorities, they declined to hand over the documents to the lawyer”, Anurag Srivastava, the spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, said. India still tried to file a review petition on 18th July, “However, our Pakistani lawyer [said] that a review petition could not be filed in the absence of power of attorney and supporting documents related to the case of Jadhav,” said Srivastava.
On 16th July, the Indian officials had walked out of the second consular access to Jadhav as Pakistan did not provide them with unhindered access as promised. “The meeting of consular officers with Jadhav on 16th July was scuttled by Pakistan authorities. The consular officers were instructed not to hand over any document to Jadhav. Hence, the officers could not obtain a power of attorney from Jadhav,” he said.
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said that Pakistan’s decision to approach a lawyer on its own for the case was flawed, and it is a failure to provide India with an unimpeded and unconditional consular access with Jadhav and the relevant case after repeated requests have exposed the ‘farcical nature’ of Pakistan’s approach to the case.
According to the Indian authorities, Pakistan has not only violated the decisions of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) but also has gone against the ordinance it had regulated on 20th May. The ordinance stated that the foreign citizens who are convicted in the country have the right to file a review petition. The ordinance was promulgated in compliance with the ICJ’s order for effective review and reconsideration in the case of Kulbhushan Jadhav. The shortcomings and inadequacies in the ordinance have not given the required weight to the decision of ICJ. Srivastava said Pakistan was “non-serious in its approach and was not interested in implementing the judgment of the ICJ in letter and spirit”. The Indian government has also accused Pakistan of creating confusion regarding the petition. Initially, Pakistan had indicated that the petition had to be filed on 16th July and subsequently changed it to 20th July
Jadhav, 50, was arrested by the Pakistani security officials from Balochistan in March 2016 for alleged on grounds of espionage and terrorist activities. In April 2017, a Pakistani military tribunal sentenced him to death. The International Court of Justice in July 2019 ruled that Pakistan has violated Jadhav’s rights under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations and asked for an effective review and reconsideration. India, however, has refuted all the allegations against Jadhav, claiming that he was kidnapped by Pakistani operatives from the Chabahar port in Iran where he was running a business.