India Thursday said it was exploring legal options in the case relating to Indian death-row convict Kulbhushan Jadhav, a day after Pakistan claimed that he refused to file a review petition against his sentence by a Pakistani military court on charges of espionage.
"At this stage, we are assessing our legal options. We will do our utmost to protect the life of the Indian national," Spokesperson in the Ministry of External Affairs Anurag Srivastava said at an online media briefing.
Jadhav, a retired Indian Navy officer, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of espionage and terrorism in April 2017. Weeks later, India approached the ICJ against Pakistan for denial of consular access to Jadhav and challenging the death sentence. The ICJ, then, restrained Pakistan from executing him.
In July last year, the Hague-based court ruled 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.
On Wednesday, Pakistan said Jadhav refused to file an appeal in the Islamabad High Court against his conviction despite being offered the option.
Hours later, India called Pakistan's claim a "farce" and said Jadhav was "coerced" to forego his rights.
Srivastava on Wednesday said Pakistan's claim reflected its attempt to "mask" its continuing "reticence to implement" the judgment of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the case in "letter and spirit".
He said Pakistan is only seeking to create an "illusion of remedy" in the case, and asserted that India will do its "utmost" to protect Jadhav and ensure his safe return to India.
"Pakistan's claim that Jadhav, who is incarcerated in Pakistan's custody, has refused to initiate review petition is a continuation of the farce that has been in play for the last four years," Srivastava said.