Pakistan to Amend Its Army Act, Allow Kulbhushan Jadhav to Appeal in Civilian Court as Per ICJ Ruling
Pakistan’s Army Act bars individuals being tried in military courts from appealing in civilian courts, but reports said a special amendment will be made for Kulbhushan Jadhav.
File photo of Kulbhushan Jadhav.
New Delhi: Pakistan is amending its Army Act, under which former Indian Navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav was sentenced to death, in keeping with the International Court of Justice (ICJ) direction to allow him the right to file an appeal in the civilian court.
News agency ANI quoted Pakistani media as saying on Wednesday that the act in its present form forbids individuals or groups being tried in military courts from filing an appeal in the civilian court, but special amendment was being made for Jadhav.
Spokesperson for Pakistan Armed Forces Major General Asif Ghafoor, however, termed as "speculation" the reports that the government was planning to amend the Army Act to allow Jadhav the right to file an appeal against his conviction in a civilian court.
"Various legal options for review and reconsideration of the case are being considered. Final status shall be shared in due course of time," he further said.
Jadhav, a retired Indian navy commander, was tried as a spy under the act by the Pakistani military after he was captured in 2016. India says that he was kidnapped by Pakistani agencies from Iran and brought to Pakistan. Pakistan had claimed that Jadhav was arrested from its restive province of Balochistan. It notified India about it through a press release on March 25, 2016, 22 days after he was picked up.
Jadhav, who hails from Powai in Mumbai, was subjected to an opaque military trial, which sentenced him to death on April 10, 2017, even as Pakistan government kept rejecting India's repeated pleas for consular access.
The ICJ, which was moved by India on May 8, 2017, gave a detailed verdict this year, rejecting all the objections of Pakistan, including one unanimously on the admissibility of the case and also the claims by Islamabad that India had not provided the actual nationality of Jadhav.
In the judgement, the ICJ said that it was satisfied that Jadhav was an Indian national and that the fact had been acknowledged by both Pakistan and India.
The court, in its ruling by 15-1, ordered "a continued stay of execution" on Jadhav, saying it "constitutes an indispensable condition for the effective review and reconsideration of the conviction and sentence" of the accused.
It said it "finds that the appropriate reparation in this case consists in the obligation of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan to provide, by the means of its own choosing, effective review and reconsideration of the conviction and sentence of Mr. Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav, so as to ensure that full weight is given to the effect of the violation of the rights set forth" in the Vienna Convention on consular access.
Following the ICJ ruling, India was granted consular access to Jadhav on September 2 but Pakistan has refused to "share any further details" of the meeting between Jadhav and Indian Charge d' Affaires Gaurav Ahluwalia in a Pakistani sub jail. It has since then ruled out a second consular meeting but the Ministry of External Affairs said it will keep making efforts to ensure the ICJ verdict is fully implemented.
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