Both India and Pakistan hailed the International Court of Justice (ICJ)'s verdict in the case of Kulbhushan Jadhav, referred to as a "former Indian Navy officer" or an "Indian spy" on respective sides of the border, as a victory for themselves. Both neighbours claimed validation of their arguments in Jadhav's case, who was arrested and detained in Pakistan in March 2016.
While the Indian news media called the verdict a "major victory" for New Delhi, Pakistani news outlets said that the ICJ had delivered a "fitting" verdict in the case.
A majority of the Pakistani media also carried the statement of the only dissenting opinion, the ad hoc judge from Pakistan Tassaduq Hussain Jillani, who opposed India's arguments based on the Vienna Convention. Additionally, all the publications also curated reactions on the verdict, which had headlines like 'Not too bad for Pakistan, pretty bad for India'.
They also carried the statements by Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan and the country's military who said that the ICJ's decision "has declared India a terrorist state". Imran on Thursday tweeted, "Appreciate ICJ's decision not to acquit, release & return Commander Kulbhushan Jadhav to India. He is guilty of crimes against the people of Pakistan. Pakistan shall proceed further as per law."
Reports also quoted Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi as saying that the ICJ's verdict was a "moral victory" for the country.
Dawn republished articles written in the duration since Jadhav's arrest three years ago, including a timeline of the case which provided news about developments from the perspectives of both India and Pakistan. However, the lead story on the Pakistani major daily's online page was a wire by news agency Agence France-Presse. The publication had also not issued an editorial on Thursday.
Dawn's front page online on 18 July
One of the other stories, republished from May 2017, was an editorial that explained that even though the ICJ had stayed the order of execution for Jadhav, Pakistan had "not failed" and India had "not succeeded". Dawn also ran a profile on Jadhav, however, the paper had not published an editorial on the issue even till Thursday morning.
Almost all the publications carried headlines highlighting that the ICJ had turned down the remedies requested by India, and downplayed the part of the order staying the death sentence and asking Pakistan to review it. Publications like The Express Tribune and Pakistan Today noted the granting of consular access to India as a "technical relief" and claimed a "substantive relief" for Pakistan.
The Express Tribune quoted a barrister Taimur Malik, who said that the verdict was a victory for Pakistan "on many counts". He was quoted as saying, "(a) Jadhav will remain in Pakistani custody; (b) the choice of what constitutes effective review and reconsideration has been left to Pakistan and shows the ICJ's faith in the Pakistani judicial system; (c) no limits have been placed on the nature of punishment that Pakistan can finally award to Jadhav and that (d) no adverse comments have been given regarding the military courts despite India's best attempts."
In an article titled 'Pakistan vindicated at ICJ', the paper noted, "However, the ICJ says Jadhav's conviction and sentence is not violation of Article 36 of the Vienna Convention. "Thus, the court finds that these submissions made by India cannot be upheld."
Another Pakistani publication, The Nation, headlined an article describing the ICJ's order as 'Pakistan wins Jadhav case at UN court'.
"The United Nations' top court in its final verdict rejected the key parts of India's appeal, and ruled an effective review and reconsideration of the sentence by Pakistan, by the means of its own choosing," the report noted, adding, "The ICJ accepted Pakistan's point that Jadhav was an Indian national possessing a valid Indian passport in the name of Hussein Mubarak Patel and said: It is satisfied that the evidence before it leaves no room for doubt that Jadhav is of Indian nationality."
With inputs from agencies