New Delhi/Islamabad: Maintaining that ICJ verdict on Kulbhushan Jadhav is a vindication of its stand, India Thursday sought from Islamabad immediate consular access to its national as Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan contended that his government shall proceed in the matter as per law.
Making a statement in both Houses of Parliament, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar also asserted that the government will vigorously continue its efforts to ensure Jhadav’s safety and wellbeing, as well as his early return to India.
Rubbishing Pakistan’s claim of a victory in the case, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said Islamabad has its “own compulsions to lie” to its people.
Jadhav, 49, a retired Indian Navy officer, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of “espionage and terrorism” in April 2017 following which India had moved the ICJ, seeking a stay on his death sentence.
A 16-member bench headed by President of the Court, Judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf, by 15-1 votes ordered Pakistan Wednesday to undertake an effective review and reconsideration of the conviction and sentence of Jadhav and also to grant consular access to India without delay.
“Pakistan has been asked to provide consular access to Jadhav and they have to do it,’’ Kumar said.
Reacting for the first time to the verdict, Khan tweeted, “appreciate ICJ’s decision not to acquit, release and return Commander Kulbhushan Jadhav to India. He is guilty of crimes against the people of Pakistan. Pakistan shall proceed further as per law.’’
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi also tweeted, “Jadhav shall remain in Pakistan. He shall be treated in accordance with the laws of Pakistan” while claiming that “this is a victory for Pakistan.”
He said India wanted acquittal of Jadhav, but that was not accepted. “If they still want to claim victory…. Good Luck!” he further said.
Responding sharply, Kumar said, “frankly, it seems to me they (Pakistan) are reading from a completely different verdict. The main verdict is of 42 pages. If there is no patience to go through 42 pages, they should go through the press release, where each and every point is in favour of India.”
Noting that Pakistan was found to have deprived India of the right to communicate with Jadhav, have access to him, visit him in detention and arrange his legal representation, Jaishankar said, “Kulbhushan Jadhav is innocent of the charges made against him. His forced confession without legal representation and due process will not change this reality.” “We once again call upon Pakistan to release and repatriate him forthwith,” the minister said in Parliament.
Asked what will happen if Pakistan does not comply with the court order, the spokesperson said the ICJ clearly mentioned that the “judgement is final, binding and without appeal”. In its 42-page ruling, the ICJ ruled that Pakistan had “breached” the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations, which gives countries the right to consular access when their nationals are arrested abroad.
The world court found that by not informing Jadhav without delay of his rights under Article 36 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, Pakistan breached the obligations incumbent upon it.
“The judgment has restored our faith in the rule of law, in the ICJ and in the systems which we put together to protect the citizens of the world,” said Salve.
“We had challenged the conduct of Pakistan in its brazen refusal to adhere to the Vienna Convention and allow consular access to Jadhav… The court found Pakistan guilty of internationally wrongful acts and that it must cease those acts,” he said.
The ICJ has declared that Pakistan is under an obligation to inform Jadhav without delay of his rights and to provide Indian consular officers access to him in accordance with Article 36 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.
Salve admitted that while India’s ambitious call for an annulment of Jadhav’s death sentence was not met, the court had been categorical in its verdict that Pakistan must do everything to make the Vienna Convention a living reality.
India moved the ICJ May 8, 2017, for the “egregious violation” of the provisions of Vienna Convention by Pakistan by repeatedly denying New Delhi consular access to Jadhav.
Salve said he had a degree of personal satisfaction that he did not resort to the kind of adjectives used by Pakistan in trying to accuse India of state-sponsored terrorism during the course of the hearings, except to describe them as “unfortunate”.