ICJ to begin hearing Kulbhushan Jadhav's case today
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) is slated to begin hearing the case of former Indian Navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav on Monday. During the hearing, it's understood that India will ask the ICJ for consular access to Jadhav, who is facing the death penalty in Pakistan on charges of espionage. The hearing comes at a time when India-Pakistan relations have hit a new low.
Jadhav had been captured by Pakistan in March 2016
Jadhav had been captured by Pakistani forces from the unstable Balochistan province in March 2016. Subsequently, he was put on trial, and in April 2017, a military court in Pakistan handed Jadhav the death penalty on charges of "espionage, sabotage, and terrorism". India, however, raced to the aid of the former Navy officer.
India involved the ICJ after Jadhav was handed death penalty
Maintaining that Jadhav was not a spy, but had been wrongfully apprehended by Pakistani forces, India moved the ICJ immediately after Jadhav was handed the death sentence. Subsequently, on May 18, 2017, a 10-member panel of the ICJ restrained Pakistan from executing Jadhav till such time the case had been adjudicated in the international court. Now, Jadhav's fate rests on the court's decision.
India's argument is that Pakistan is violating international treaties
It's understood that New Delhi will ask the ICJ to direct Pakistan to annul the death sentence handed to Jadhav. Further, India will also argue that Pakistan's move to block consular access to Jadhav is against the Vienna Convention, as well as against human rights. If Pakistan does not quash Jadhav's sentence, it will be found violating international treaties, India has said.
Pakistan had earlier said that it would implement ICJ verdict
Pakistan, however, had earlier said that it would respect and implement whatever decision the ICJ takes. However, Islamabad had added that it was confident that Jadhav was a spy, saying that it had recovered an Indian passport from Jadhav that had a Muslim name on it. Attorney General Anwar Mansoor will present Pakistan's case, while Harish Salve will present India's.
The hearing will happen in the backdrop of worsening relations
Notably, the hearing comes at a time when the relationship between India and Pakistan has been stretched thin owing to the Pulwama attack, which has been claimed by Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM). India has already responded by withdrawing the 'Most Favored Nation' status it had accorded to Pakistan in 1996. India is also mulling military action to avenge the attack.
Backstory: The Pulwama attack had left over 40 jawans martyred
On Thursday, a Srinagar-bound CRPF convoy of 70 vehicles came under attack on the Jammu-Srinagar highway. Despite the highway being well-guarded, an SUV laden with 350kg of explosives managed to ram into the convoy, triggering a massive blast. The blast reduced one bus to smithereens, and left several vehicles in the convoy severely damaged, making rescue efforts difficult. 40 jawans were martyred.