The fate of Kulbhushan Jadhav, India’s most high-profile prisoner in Pakistan, continues to hang in balance. The ministry of external affairs today said there has been no communication from Islamabad on Jadhav's case. The Islamabad High Court had directed Pakistan on Monday to inform India to appoint a lawyer to file a review petition on behalf of Jadhav who is on death row.
“We haven’t received any communication from Pakistan,’’ said spokesperson of MEA Anurag Srivastava at the virtual weekly briefing on Thursday.
“Pakistan needs to address basic issues, which pertain to effective review and implementation of the International Court of Justice judgement, these issues pertain to making relevant documentation available to us and providing unhindered, unimpeded consular access,’’ he said.
On Monday, a two-judge bench headed by chief justice Athar Minallah held that Pakistan had to inform Jadhav of his rights under the Vienna Convention, as well as the Ordinance promulgated by Pakistan to offer him a review of his military trial.
“He shall be specifically informed regarding his right to avail the statutory remedy provided under the Ordinance of 2020 and to authorise the Government of India to arrange legal representation on his behalf,’’ the chief justice has been quoted as saying.
Jadhav had, Pakistan claimed at a surprise press conference two months ago, refused to pursue a review petition in civil court. India charged coercion.
India had appointed a lawyer last month. Pakistan had insisted that only a Pakistani lawyer could represent Jadhav. “India appointed a Pakistani lawyer to obtain the relevant documents,’’ Srivastava said. “To our surprise, when the authorised Pakistani lawyer approached the concerned authorities, they declined to handover, the relevant the documents to the lawyer.’’
So far, India has maintained that Pakistan has not handed over documentation over Jadhav's charge sheet or even his military trial records. With the Islamabad High Court order now, it remains to be seen how this will play out.
Despite a major victory at the International Court of Justice of possible relief in a civil court, Jadhav’s refusal to file a petition has put India in an uncomfortable position. As it will be a chance for Pakistan to try a case, in their court, under their rules. India is apprehensive, as it suspects that Pakistan will use the opportunity, as it did at The Hague, to use the courtroom floor to push an Indian “terrorism’’ agenda.
India has alleged that earlier that Pakistan is not serious about the Ordinance filed. Pakistan, an MEA statement in July alleged took “two weeks’’ to inform India about the Ordinance. The copy was shared only after India requested. “It has blocked all the avenues for an effective remedy available for India,’’ MEA statement read.