India should have got consular access to Jadhav: ICJ

Kulbhushan Jadhav death sentence International Court of Justice to deliver verdict today

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Hague Thursday ordered the Pakistani government not to execute Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav, a former Indian naval officer who was given a death sentence in April by a Pakistani military court for alleged "espionage and subversive activities".

The UN court in The Hague said on May 18 that Pakistan should not carry out the death penalty against Kulbhushan Jadhav, pending the outcome of a case filed by India over the matter.

Pakistan argued that Jadhav's rights weren't breached and that the court didn't need to issue an urgent order to stay his execution because it wasn't imminent.

Pakistan claims that it arrested Jadhav in Balochistan province a year ago and accused him of being a spy. He was convicted last month by a military court and sentenced to death. India also accused Pakistan of violating the Vienna Convention by denying consular access to Jadhav and pronouncing him guilty of espionage in a "farcical trial".

However Sartaj Aziz, adviser on foreign affairs to Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, said case's proceedings would not be interrupted by the court's order and that Pakistan will raise its security concerns over giving consular access to him.

Reacting to the temporary relief granted by the worldwide court, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi hoped the final decision would also come in India's favour. Pakistan must ensure that Jadhav is not executed, said ICJ.

Jadhav reportedly joined India's prestigious National Defense Academy in 1987 and was commissioned as an engineer in the Indian Navy in 1991. Responding to the criticism by opposition parties, he said Pakistan could not have abstained from the hearing as any such move would have given advantage to India.

"The court also decides that, until it has given its final decision, it shall remain seized of the matters which form the subject matter of this order", a press release from the global court said. Pakistan claims its security forces arrested Jadhav from its restive Balochistan province on March 3 previous year after he reportedly entered from Iran.

Urdu television channel Dunya News, on the other hand, quoted lawyer and columnist Yasser Latif Hamdani as saying that the ICJ decision was "exactly in accordance with the expectations", and that the country should have provided Jadhav with consular access from the very beginning. While not commenting specifically on the order to halt the execution, the office said in a statement that Jadhav "still has ample time to petition for clemency". She said Pakistan will vigorously fight this case without compromising on its national security.

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