Pakistan said on Sunday that it has "fully complied" with the ICJ's judgement in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case, days after India's lead counsel asserted that New Delhi had hoped it might be able to persuade Islamabad through "back channel" to release the Indian death-row convict.
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.
Senior advocate Harish Salve was the lead counsel for India in the Jadhav case at the Hague-based ICJ which ruled in July last year 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.
"We were hoping that through back channel, we may be able to persuade Pakistan to let him go. If they want to say on humanitarian ground or whatever, we want him back. We said let him go. Because it has become a big ego problem in Pakistan. So, we were hoping that they will let him go. They haven't," Salve said on May 3 while speaking online from London.
"We have written four-five letters. They just keep on denying. I think we have reached a point where we have to now decide whether we want to go back to ICJ for consequential directions because Pakistan has not moved ahead," he said.
Responding to Salve's remarks, Pakistan's Foreign Office Spokesperson Aisha Farooqui said Islamabad had noted the statements made by India's legal counsel in the Jadhav case.
While suggesting that India may have to go back to ICJ, Salve has made certain statements which are contrary to the facts of the case, she said.
"We firmly reject the Indian Counsel's baseless and inaccurate assertion that Pakistan has not complied with the ICJ's judgment in the case. Pakistan has fully complied with the judgment and remains committed to continue doing so as the case proceeds further," Farooqui said.
She said Pakistan granted India consular access to Jadhav and was processing measures for effective review and reconsideration as per the guidelines provided by the ICJ in its judgment.
Being a responsible state, Pakistan abides by all its international obligations, the Spokesperson said.
"It is regrettable that Mr Salve has chosen to make statements which are inaccurate and misrepresent facts," she said.
In its 42-page order, the world court, while rejecting Pakistan's objection to admissibility of the Indian application in the case, had held that "a continued stay of execution constitutes an indispensable condition for the effective review" of the sentence of Jadhav.
The bench, however, rejected some remedies sought by India, including annulment of the military court's decision convicting Jadhav, his release and safe passage to India.
The ICJ upheld India's stand that Pakistan had "breached" the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations, which gives countries the right to consular access when their nationals are arrested abroad.
Pakistan claims that its security forces arrested Jadhav from the restive Balochistan province on March 3, 2016 after he reportedly entered from Iran.
However, India maintains that Jadhav was kidnapped from Iran where he had business interests after retiring from the Navy.