Kulbhushan Jadhav didn't seek review of his death sentence: Pakistan
Ex-Indian Navy Officer, Kulbhushan Jadhav, who faces death sentence in Pakistan didn't file a review plea pertaining to his punishment, Islamabad said on Wednesday. Jadhav, who was picked up by Pakistani agencies in 2016, has instead chosen to go ahead with his pending mercy plea, which was filed on April 17, 2017. Pakistan has also offered India second consular access to Jadhav.
Jadhav was arrested and tried in Pakistan on charges of espionage. In 2017, the military court in Pakistan gave him a death sentence, prompting India to launch a massive exercise to save its citizen. India went to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to shed light on how Pakistan violated the Vienna Convention by denying multiple requests for consular access.
In July last year, ICJ ruled in India's favor, ordering Islamabad to give consular access to India. Further, the court also directed that his death sentence should remain suspended until Pakistan effectively reviews and reconsiders the conviction/sentence in light of Pakistan's breach of Article 36(1), i.e., denial of consular access and notification. In September 2019, consular access was given for the first time.
And now, in a recent development, Pakistan claimed Jadhav didn't opt for a review plea. "On June 17, 2020, Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav was invited to file a petition for review and reconsideration of his sentence and conviction. Exercising his legal right, he refused to file a petition for review and reconsideration of his sentence and conviction," Pakistan Additional Attorney General Ahmed Irfan said.
Irfan, who addressed the press conference along with Director-General of South Asia and SAARC at the Pakistan Foreign Office, Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri, said Pakistan took steps respecting the order of ICJ. He explained Jadhav was allowed to file a review plea within a stipulated time before the Islamabad High Court. Besides Jadhav, a consular official of the Indian High Commission could have also filed it.
Notably, Irfan also hoped that India cooperates with Pakistani courts to implement the verdict. "Pakistan is fully cognizant of its international obligations and committed to implementing the ICJ judgment in letter and spirit," he said. It's unclear how New Delhi will respond to Pakistan's offer for second consular access, after the first bitter experience. Earlier, India said Jadhav was under duress.
In September, India's Deputy High Commissioner to Pakistan, Gaurav Ahluwalia met Jadhav after which the Ministry of External Affairs declared that the Indian national was under pressure. "It was clear that Jadhav appeared to be under extreme pressure to parrot a false narrative to bolster Pakistan's untenable claims," Raveesh Kumar, the former spokesperson of MEA said back then. Naturally, Pakistan denied these allegations.