IHC orders Pakistan once again offer India legal counsel for RAW spy Kulbhushan Jadhav

Staff Reporter


ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday ordered Pakistan to once again offer India to appoint a legal counsel for RAW spy Kulbhushan Jadhav.

A two-member bench of the IHC headed by Chief Justice Athar Minallah heard the petition to appoint a lawyer for Jadhav, who, according to the Foreign Office, is a serving commander of Indian Navy associated with Indian spy agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW). “Now that the matter is in the high court, why not give India another chance,” Justice Minallah remarked during the hearing on the implementation of the International Court of Justice’s (ICJ) decision regarding the spy. The judge observed that the Indian government or Jadhav may reconsider their decision pertaining to the review petition.  “India and Kulbhushan Jadhav should once again be extended an offer to appoint a legal representative” for the spy, he added. Pakistan’s offer to  Responding to Justice Minallah’s remarks, the Attorney General of Pakistan said India was “running away” from the verdict issued by the ICJ. “An ordinance was issued to give an opportunity to [India and Jadhav to] file a review petition against the sentence,” the AGP said. “We will contact India again through the Foreign Office.”

The hearing was subsequently adjourned till September 3. The government had on July 22 approached the IHC to appoint a legal representative for the Indian spy. The move was made in the light of the International Court of Justice’s July 17, 2019 decision, following which the International Court of Justice (Review and Reconsideration) Ordinance, 2020 was enacted to implement the court’s verdict.

The federation, through the defense secretary and the Judge Advocate General (JAG) branch of General Headquarters (GHQ), had been made a party in the petition filed by the Ministry of Law and Justice. According to the petition, Jadhav refused to file a petition against his sentence. The Indian spy cannot appoint a lawyer in Pakistan without India’s assistance, while New Delhi is also reluctant to avail the facility under the ordinance, the petition said. The government, in the petition, has asked the court to appoint a legal representative for Jadhav so that Pakistan can fulfil its responsibility to see to the implementation of the ICJ’s decision.  Third consular access On July 17, Pakistan had offered Jadhav consular access for a third time, after the second opportunity was not fully availed. A day prior, Foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that India’s ill-intentions were revealed when Pakistan provided New Delhi’s diplomats uninterrupted consular access to the RAW spy for a second time at the country’s own request, but they left without meeting him in Islamabad, saying the environment was “unsuitable”.

“Two Indian diplomats were given consular access to Kulbhushan today, according to what was agreed upon. [However], India’s ill-intentions have been unmasked. They did not want consular access,” Qureshi said, in a conversation with Geo News. According to a Foreign Office statement released after the July 16 meeting, Pakistan had provided India unimpeded and uninterrupted consular access to Jadhav for a second time at India’s request. “Two consular officers of the Indian High Commission in Islamabad were provided unimpeded and uninterrupted consular access to Commander Jadhav at 1500 hours”, according to the statement. Case background

In July 2019, the ICJ ruled that Pakistan must grant consular access to India without any delay and at the same called for the “effective review and reconsideration” of Jadhav’s case. Commander Jadhav — an Indian Navy officer working for Indian covert agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) — was arrested on March 3, 2016, from Balochistan after he entered Pakistan from Iran. According to a statement by the FO, he had confessed during the investigation “to his involvement in terrorist activities inside Pakistan that resulted in the loss of many precious human lives”.

“He also made important revelations about RAW’s role in sponsoring state terrorism in Pakistan,” the statement added.