IHC gives India another chance to appoint counsel for Jadhav

By: News Desk      Published: 03:50 PM, 3 Sep, 2020
IHC gives India another chance to appoint counsel for Jadhav

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday gave India another opportunity to appoint a counsel for Kulbhushan Jadhav so that the appeal process could move forward effectively, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.

Chief Justice Athar Minallah directed the government to send the IHC order to India after he earlier observed that how the appeal proceedings could be effective if New Delhi did not want to be part of the process.

In this connection, he also remarked that the appeal for review would be effective if Jadhav filed that personally. Filing and hearing appeal without Jadhav’s consent would an exercise to finalise the sentence awarded to him, the IHC chief justice noted.

In his argument, Attorney General Khalid Jawed Khan said India was not serious about the issue and had not even given any response concerning rejecting the offer.

Noting that it is an attempt by India to defame Pakistan, the attorney general said there were two options: 1) the court appoints a counsel for the Indian spy or 2) one should wait for the Indian response.

At this, the chief justice, who was heading a three-member bench, remarked that judicial review of the decision in the Jadhav case was a duty of Pakistan, which should be effective as well.

Chief Justice Minallah also raised another potent question: what would be the status of implementing the International Court of Justice (ICJ) if Jadhav or the Indian government isn’t ready for a judicial review and whether it isn’t appropriate to give New Delhi another chance. 

Khalid seconded the observation and said the situation would have been different if India had rejected the offer. He also stressed the need for negating the impression that Pakistan isn’t implementing the ICJ verdict.

Later, the IHC adjourned further hearing of the matter till October 6 after directing the government to inform India about the opportunity to appoint a counsel for Jadhav.

To meet the fair trial requirements and fulfil the obligations under the ICJ decision, the government had filed an application with the IHC on July 22 in connection with the sentencing of the Indian spy.

The Ministry of Law and Justice moved the court under the International Court of Justice (Review and Re-consideration) Ordinance with a request to appoint a counsel for the Indian spy in the national interest.

Moreover, the application says that the court should pass the necessary orders so as to ensure that Pakistan’s obligations under the ICJ verdict are met.

The development came as Jadhav refused to avail the offer to file a review petition last week.

In July 2019, the ICJ ordered Pakistan to review the death penalty handed down to the Indian spy convicted of spying.

Pakistan has violated international law by denying India consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav, the ICJ ruled.

Jadhav was arrested in Pakistan in March 2016 and sentenced to death by a military court a year later.

The Hague-based ICJ ruled that Pakistan had failed to inform Jadhav of his rights, and deprived the Indian government "of the right to communicate with and have access to [him], to visit him in detention and to arrange for his legal representation".

"A continued stay of execution constitutes an indispensable condition for the effective review and reconsideration of the conviction and sentence," it added.