Pakistan’s claim that Indian national Kulbhushan Yadav — sentenced to death by its military court — has refused review of his case and wants to appeal for mercy, is proof of its “reticence” to implement the order of the International Court of Justice in “letter and spirit”, India said today. Calling Pakistan’s move a continuation of the four-year-long “farce”, the foreign ministry said the media statement “seeks to mask its continuing reticence”.
In July last year, the International Court of Justice said Pakistan must review the death sentence of Kulbhushan Jadhav, and it should remain suspended meanwhile. The court also agreed with India’s stand that Pakistan had violated the Vienna convention by denying consular access to him after his conviction in a “farcical” closed trial.
At a media conference today, Pakistan’s Attorney General Ahmed Irfan said Kulbhushan Jadhav was invited to file a review petition on June 17. But he “preferred to follow up on his pending mercy petition,” he said. Pakistan, he added, has offered him a second consular access.
“Kulbhushan Jadhav has been sentenced to execution through a farcical trial. He remains under custody of Pakistan’s military. He has clearly been coerced to refuse to file a review in his case,” the foreign ministry said.
“In a brazen attempt to scuttle even the inadequate remedy under the Ordinance, Pakistan has obviously coerced Shri Jadhav to forego his rights to seek an implementation of the judgment of the ICJ,” the ministry said.
On May 20, 2020, Pakistan passed an Ordinance to allow a High Court to review the sentence awarded by their military court.
Pakistan, the foreign ministry said, had claimed that their laws “allowed for effective review and reconsideration” in face of Indian arguments. Now, after almost a year, “they have made a U-turn and issued an Ordinance to ostensibly provide for some sort of review,” a spokesperson of the foreign ministry said.
Kulbhushan Jadhav, a former Naval officer, was arrested by Pakistan the March 2016 and accused of “espionage” — a charge India rubbished. A year later, a Pakistani military court sentenced him to death. In April 2017, India took Pakistan to the world court and the next month, Mr Jadhav’s execution was stayed.
While Pakistan claimed Mr Jadhav was arrested from Baluchistan, India asserted that he was kidnapped from Iran, where he had business interests after retiring from the Navy. India also accused Pakistan of denying him consular access in violation of the Vienna Convention.