India on Thursday slammed Pakistan for trying to link the Kulbhushan Jadhav case with another case of an Indian, who has completed his sentence but is still in jail and awaits repatriation. 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.
At a media briefing, Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said, "Pakistan is trying to link the case of Kulbhushan Jadhav with another prisoner's case." 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, he said. Srivastava said Noon was clearly told by the Indian High Commission that he had no authority to represent either the government of India or Jadhav. "Our Mission in Islamabad has written to Mr. Noon reiterating that he has no authority to represent Mr. Jadhav and has no basis to suggest that the Indian Cd'A would appear in the court," Srivastava said.
"As regards our position on Jadhav, I have clarified this on several instances in the past, 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 ICJ," he said. In 2017, India approached the International Court of Justice (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. 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.
Jadhav, a retired Indian Navy officer, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of espionage and terrorism in April 2017. Asked about reports that Pakistan has sent approval for the appointment of Suresh Kumar as India's new Charge d'Affaires (CDA) at its mission in Islamabad, Srivstava said the process of appointment is still ongoing.
To another question on the Azad Pattan hydro-power project on the Jhelum river in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), he said, "We have seen media reports about conclusion of agreements related to this project that you mention, this is the Azad Pattan hydropower project." "We have consistently conveyed our strong protest to Pakistan on its attempts to bring material changes on Indian territories under its illegal and forcible occupation, including by constructing the hydro power projects like this project," Srivastava said. India's position is consistent and clear that the entire Union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh have been, are and will remain integral and inalienable parts of India, he asserted.
Asked about Chinese Defence Minister Gen. Wei Fenghe's recent visit to Pakistan and the discussion on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor projects passing through PoK, Srivastava said he would not like to comment on the visit, but added that India's stand on the CPEC projects is clear and both countries aware of it. "The CPEC projects violate India's sovereignty and territorial integrity and we have in the past protested and raised concerns over it with both countries," he said.