India on Wednesday described as "farce" Pakistan's claim that Kulbhushan Jadhav, on a death row in an alleged espionage case in Islamabad, has refused to file an appeal against his sentence. The Centre said he has been coerced to refuse to file a review petition.
Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said Jadhav has clearly been coerced to refuse to file a review in his case, terming it as a "brazen attempt" to scuttle even the inadequate remedy available to him.
Earlier in the day, Pakistan said Jadhav has refused to file a review petition and wants to proceed with his pending mercy petition, adding that Islamabad has offered a second round of consular access to him.
Jadhav, the 49-year-old 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 International Court of Justice (ICJ) against Pakistan for denial of consular access to Jadhav and challenging the death sentence.
In July 2017, the ICJ ordered Pakistan to undertake an "effective review and reconsideration" of the conviction and sentence of Jadhav.
"We have been pursuing through diplomatic channels full and effective implementation of the ICJ judgment in the case of Kulbushan Jadhav. The media statement made by Pakistan today in the case seeks to mask its continuing reticence to implement ICJ judgment in letter and spirit," said Srivastava.
"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. Jadhav has been sentenced to execution through a farcical trial. He remains under custody of Pakistan’s military," said Srivastava. "He has clearly been coerced to refuse to file a review in his case."
The spokesperson said India has sought unimpeded access to Jadhav to discuss his remedies under the Ordinance. "In a brazen attempt to scuttle even the inadequate remedy under the Ordinance, Pakistan has obviously coerced Jadhav to forego his rights to seek an implementation of the judgment of the ICJ," he said.
India said Pakistan has continued to deny free and unimpeded access to Jadhav despite repeated requests.
"India has repeatedly asked to allow a lawyer from outside Pakistan to appear for Jadhav in any review and reconsideration proceedings. Pakistan has denied it. Since 2017, when the military court carried out a farcical trial, Pakistan has refused to hand over any relevant document, including FIR, evidence, court order, etc, in the case to India. Clearly, Pakistan is attempting to create a mirage of compliance with the ICJ judgment," added the MEA spokesperson.
Srivastava said the ICJ has already held that Pakistan has violated international law. "The government will do its utmost to protect Jadhav and ensure his safe return to India," he added.