Islamabad, Apr 15 (PTI) Pakistan’s Islamabad High Court on Thursday asked the Foreign Office to clear India’s 'misunderstanding' about the court’s jurisdiction to hear the Kulbhushan Jadhav case to implement the verdict of the International Court of Justice.
Jadhav, the 50-year-old retired Indian Navy officer, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of espionage and terrorism in April 2017. India approached the International Court of Justice against Pakistan for denial of consular access to Jadhav and challenging the death sentence.
The Hague-based ICJ ruled in July 2019 that Pakistan must undertake an 'effective review and reconsideration' of the conviction and sentence of Jadhav and also to grant consular access to India without further delay.
The ICJ, in its 2019 verdict, had asked Pakistan to provide a proper forum for appeal against the sentence given to Jadhav by a military court.
The Pakistani government issued a special ordinance last year and filed the case in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) which has repeatedly asked India to appoint a lawyer to represent Jadhav.
A larger IHC bench comprising Justice Athar Minallah, Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb is hearing the case.
The Express Tribune reported that the Indian High Commission, through a lawyer, had challenged the IHC jurisdiction to appoint a defence counsel in the case and the court tried to clarify the objection.
During the proceedings, Justice Minallah asked Barrister Shahnawaz Noon, the lawyer representing the Indian High Commission, whether or not he had informed New Delhi about the Jadhav case.
The lawyer replied that the Indian government was of the view that the case did not fall in the IHC jurisdiction.
“It seems that the Indian government has a misunderstanding about this court's proceedings,” IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah observed.
“This matter involves the jurisdiction of not only this court, but that of the implementation of the verdict of the International Court of Justice (ICJ),” he said and directed the Foreign Office to contact the Indian government to clear the air.
Justice Minallah also said that the matter was not about jurisdiction but this court had taken up the Jadhav case for the implementation of the ICJ verdict.
“If India does not wish the implementation of the ICJ judgment, it should inform us,” he said.
“India is no doubt an autonomous state and we respect its autonomy. We are not overstepping our jurisdiction and only seek the implementation of the ICJ verdict,” he said.
Additional Attorney General Tariq Khokhar said that the Indian government had appointed lawyers to represent eight of its citizens.
“But it has a misunderstanding about the Jadhav case,” he said.
The court clubbed the matter with the petition seeking the release of four Indian prisoners and adjourned the hearing till May 5.
In 2019, the plea to annul the death sentence awarded to Jadhav was rejected by the ICJ.
The court, however, asked Pakistan for an 'effective review and reconsideration of the conviction and sentence of Jadhav” so as to ensure that full weight was given to the effect of the violation of the rights of the Vienna Convention and guarantee that the violation and the possible prejudice caused by the violation were fully examined. PTI SH CPS AKJ CPS