Pakistan gives Kulbhushan Jadhav right to appeal, India reacts
Pakistan's parliament has approved a bill allowing imprisoned Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav to appeal his conviction in the high courts of the country. The bill gives effect to the earlier judgment of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which had directed Pakistan to allow "effective review and reconsideration" of Jadhav's conviction. Jadhav was arrested in Pakistan in 2016 for alleged spying and terrorism.
India welcomes move, but has its doubts
The Indian government has welcomed Pakistan's move, saying it is "in the spirit of true justice." It, however, added the law will be "meaningless" if Jadhav is not allowed an Indian lawyer or another neutral legal help. "In case Pakistan doesn't want Indian lawyer, they should go for the help from some third country lawyer," the Indian government said, according to News18.
Pakistan's National Assembly adopted the bill on Thursday
Pakistan's National Assembly adopted the bill on Thursday, after approval from a 21-member standing committee. The new law has been named the International Court of Justice (Review and Re-consideration) Act. The Act will reportedly extend to the whole of Pakistan. In May last year, the Pakistan government had enacted an ordinance in this regard, despite protests from the Opposition parties.
What does the new law mean?
According to the law, a foreign national in Pakistan can now file a petition before a high court for the review of an order of conviction or sentencing by a military court operating under the Pakistan Army Act, 1952. The ICJ had, in 2019, ruled that Pakistan must undertake a reconsideration of the conviction and sentencing of Jadhav and grant consular access to India.
Who is Kulbhushan Jadhav?
Pakistan says Jadhav was arrested from Balochistan in 2016 and later charged with espionage and sentenced to death by a military court in 2017. India has denied these claims, maintaining that Jadhav, a retired Indian Navy officer, was a private citizen at the time of his arrest and kidnapped by Pakistani operatives from Iran where he was running a business.
ICJ had stayed Jadhav's execution
The ICJ had earlier stayed Jadhav's execution. Earlier this year, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) resumed hearing of the case related to Jadhav and some other Indian prisoners in Pakistan. This January, the Indian Foreign Ministry had criticized Pakistan for not acting upon the 2019 ICJ judgment and for failing to provide consular access to Jadhav.