India’s big win: ICJ orders Pakistan to suspend Khulbhushan Jadhav’s death sentence while Pakistan refuses to accept the decision

Khulbhushan Jadhav was given the death sentence by a Pakistani military court in April based on espionage charges. Ten days after India approached the International Court of Justice regarding this unfair trial and penalty, the Court has suspended the sentence till a final decision is produced.

The order was announced by Ronny Abraham, the president of the ICJ. India had approached the apex court of the United Nations for ‘provisional measure’ of protection which is an interim relief in this case. Pakistan has also been ordered to inform of all the measures taken to implement the order.

“Pakistan shall take all measures at its disposal to ensure that Mr Jadhav is not executed pending the final decision in these proceedings” ruled the ICJ in a binding, unanimous decision. An 11- judge bench at Hague announced the verdict.

The Judge has observed that Jadhav’s arrest remains disputed and that India should have been provided the consular access as per the Vienna convention. India had accused Pakistan on Monday in a public hearing for violating the Vienna Convention by denying consular access to Jadhav and for holding him guilty of espionage in a ‘farcical trial’.

Harish Salve, who is representing India at the ICJ said that the Court should take all necessary measures for the implementation of this decision, till the final verdict is announced. Deepak Mittal, who heads the Pakistan division of External Affairs Ministry, is also representing the Indian legal team, had demanded immediate annulment of Jadhav’s death sentence. There were fears for Jadhav’s execution even before the ICJ pronounced its decision.

Pakistan is being represented by Mohammad Faisal at the ICJ, who said that the complaint made by India was a ‘political theatre’ and accused India of “time- wasting and political grandstanding”. He also informed the court about the confession made by Jadhav for being an Indian intelligence officer on video. Pakistan produced a picture of Jadhav’s passport which was found on him and Faisal stated that India has been “unable, or perhaps unwilling to provide an explanation for this passport”, which had a completely “different” and “Muslim” name.

Pakistan had rejected our arguments that New Delhi has no legal right to invoke the ICJ jurisdiction and that the Vienna Convention doesn’t apply to matters relating to spies, terrorists and espionage. Further, Pakistan also claimed that Jadhav was a former Indian Navy officer and was working with the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) at the time when he was arrested from Balochistan in March 2016. ICJ overruled this argument and claimed that this matter was very much under the ICJ’s jurisdiction.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has expressed his satisfaction at this judgement of the International Court of Justice, reports the PTI. External Affairs Minister tweeted “I assure the nation that under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi we will leave no stone unturned to save Khulbhushan Jhadav.”

The Pakistan Government has however expressed its dissatisfaction on this matter. “Pakistan does not accept the International Court of Justice’s jurisdiction in matters related to national security. We will present more proofs against Jadhav at the court,” Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson Nafees Zakaria said. The government claims to bring in more evidence regarding Jadhav’s case.
“The real face of India will be exposed before the world,” he said, adding that Jadhav has confessed his crimes of sabotage, terrorism and subversion activities not only once but twice. India didn’t give a positive response to Pakistan’s request regarding access to Jadhav’s accomplices. It is trying to defend a person whose actions led to killing of scores of innocent Pakistanis.” Zakaria added.
He also said, “India is desperately tried to divert the world attention by presenting Kulbhushan’s case from humanitarian angle.”
Pakistan was sure that the case would be thrown on jurisdiction grounds and the decision has come as a shock to it.

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