The Pakistan government on Friday defended the ordinance promulgated to enable Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav to file a review petition against his death sentence as a move to stop India from going to the UN against Islamabad.
Law Minister Farogh Naseem's remarks in Parliament came a day after the Opposition criticised the government for "facilitating" Jadhav through a special law. The Opposition parties staged a walkout from Parliament to protest against the ordinance promulgated by the government in view of the International Court of Justice's ruling in the case of Jadhav.
Jadhav, the 50-year-old retired Indian Navy officer, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of espionage and terrorism in April 2017. India approached the ICJ against Pakistan for denial of consular access to Jadhav and challenging the death sentence. The Hague-based ICJ ruled in July 2019 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.
Pakistan enacted the ordinance on May 20. Law Minister Naseem told Parliament that the ordinance was promulgated to implement the judgment of the ICJ.
Jadhav's sentence "had not been forgiven" through the ordinance which, he said, has effectively stopped India from going to the UN Security Council against Pakistan. India has already made preparations (to go to the UNSC) if we do not do this. India wanted that Pakistan not follow the ICJ judgement so that they could approach the UNSC for bringing all kinds of resolutions, sanctions and declare Pakistan a rogue state," Naseem said.
He said it was obligatory for Pakistan to follow the ICJ verdict as it was part of the international community. "If we had not promulgated this ordinance, then India could use Article 94 of UNSC and Article 60 of ICJ statute. Pakistan has done this responsibly," he said.
Naseem said that he wanted to clarify the circumstances under which the law was brought so that the Opposition could understand it. We have not forgiven any sentence or stopped proceedings (against Jadhav). We have to follow the ICJ's decision as a responsible state," he said, adding that the law was futuristic so that if a similar situation arose, the affected party should go to a court in Pakistan rather than to the ICJ. The Pakistan government, in a unilateral move, filed a petition in the Islamabad High Court on Wednesday, seeking appointment of a "legal representative" for Jadhav.
However, the main parties, including the government of India, were not consulted ahead of the filing of the application by the Ministry of Law and Justice under the ordinance. In New Delhi, External affairs ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava on Thursday said Pakistan has once again exposed its "farcical" approach by denying available legal remedies to Jadhav against his death sentence which is also in contravention of the ICJ verdict.
He asserted that India will explore further options in the case. Srivastava said Pakistan has blocked all the avenues for an effective remedy available to India in the case, while noting that New Delhi has so far requested consular access to Jadhav for 12 times over the past one year.
"The whole exercise of not providing documents related to the case even after repeated requests, not providing an unimpeded consular access and some reported unilateral action of approaching the High Court on part of Pakistan again exposes the farcical nature of Pakistan's approach," he said. The MEA spokesperson said Pakistan is not only in violation of the judgment of ICJ, but also of its own Ordinance.
"Pakistan has completely failed to provide the remedy as directed by the ICJ and India reserves its position in the matter, including its rights to avail of further remedies," Srivastava added. Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson Aisha Farooqui, however, claimed that the necessary steps have been taken to implement the verdict of the ICJ.
Pakistan last week provided second consular access to Jadhav, but the Indian government said the access was "neither meaningful nor credible" and the death row prisoner appeared visibly under stress.