Pakistan on Friday claimed that it did not make an attempt to link the Kulbhushan Jadhav case with that of another Indian prisoner. The remarks of the Foreign Office (FO) came a day after Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava, at a media briefing in New Delhi, said that Pakistan is trying to link the case of Kulbhushan Jadhav with another prisoner’s case, asserting that Pakistan has failed to respond on core issues pertaining to the case.
After Pakistani media reports claimed that the counsel for the Indian High Commission, Shahnawaz Noon, had told the Islamabad High Court that Deputy Indian High Commissioner Gaurav Ahluwalia wants to explain India’s stance over appointment of a lawyer for death-row prisoner Jadhav, New Delhi said Noon had made the remarks without any authorisation and appears to have acted under pressure from the Pakistani establishment. Giving a background to the other case, Srivastava said in a routine consular practice, Noon was selected by the Indian High Commission to appear in the case for release and repatriation of Indian prisoner Mohammad Ismail, who has completed his sentence but continues to be in jail in Pakistan.
“However, during proceedings of the case regarding Ismail, Pakistan Attorney General raised the matter pertaining to Jadhav, though the two cases are not connected in any way,” he said. “Mr Noon is reported to have made those statements which are not true and are in contravention of our stand in the case. He appears to have acted under pressure from the Pakistani establishment to make such statements for which he has no authorisation,” Srivastava said.
Noon has misrepresented the position of the Indian High Commission, the MEA spokesperson said, adding that he was clearly told by the Indian High Commission that he had no authority to represent either the government of India or Jadhav. The Indian mission in Islamabad has written to Noon reiterating that he has no authority to represent Jadhav and has no basis to suggest that the Indian Charge d’Affaires Ahluwalia would appear in the court.
Pakistan has failed to respond on core issues pertaining to the case, including provision of all documents, providing unimpeded, unhindered and unconditional consular access to Jadhav and this is required to provide the basis for an effective review and reconsideration of the case as ordered by the International Court of Justice (ICJ), Srivastava said. Reacting to the MEA’s remarks, the FO here termed them as incorrect and misleading assertions in the Jadhav case.
It said that during the course of the proceedings, to show the discrepancy in India’s position, the Attorney-General for Pakistan cited the case of Ismail where the Indian High Commission had instructed Noon as its lawyer. The FO said that no attempt was made to link the Jadhav case with that of another Indian prisoner as they are and remain entirely distinct.
Pakistan has already provided consular access to the Indian High Commission twice and has taken all necessary steps for effective review and reconsideration in the case, the FO said, adding that the offer for a third consular access is still there. Fifty-year-old retired Indian Navy officer Jadhav was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of espionage and terrorism in April 2017.
In 2017, India approached the ICJ against Pakistan for denial of consular access to Jadhav and challenging the death sentence handed to him by a military court. 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.
A Pakistani court was informed on October 6 that India failed to appoint a lawyer to represent Jadhav in the case of the review of his death sentence by a military court in this country. Earlier, Pakistan had again rejected India’s demand that an Indian lawyer or a Queen’s counsel should be appointed for Jadhav to ensure a free and fair trial in the case.
India has slammed Pakistan for adopting a “farcical” approach in denying available legal remedies to Jadhav against his death sentence in contravention of the ICJ order.