Former federal interior minister
Today, I have been forced to pen down an article with my personal views based on historical and present facts. I am worried that the way Pakistan is being pushed into isolation which can prove harmful to the country.
In the most recent developments around the world, Pakistan has continuously been ignored at international fora despite its rigorous efforts in tackling terrorism. To my disappointment, Donald Trump’s speech in Saudi Arabia is a clear evidence to how Pakistan has been continuously disregarded despite being tragically hit by uncountable hostile terror activities time and again.
I think that the international community has failed to play its role in harmonising each one of us and so have we, not being able to maintain cordial relations with many countries which used to be friends of Pakistan.
Once again, Pakistan was cornered by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) – one of the so-called unbiased international fora. It is a shame that these custodians of justice misuse their authority to favour a vicious and ruthless country. And despite being unable, or perhaps unwilling, to provide an explanation for Jadhav’s dual passport identities and actions which were the most obvious indication of covert and illegal activities, India took the case to the ICJ.
I believe that the stay granted by the ICJ is tantamount to overstepping its limits. It is very worrisome for me as I see it as a strategized effort by some anti-Pakistan groups to undermine the country.
We all are well aware that Kulbhushan Jadhav, a RAW agent who was arrested red-handed by Pakistani law enforcement agencies from the Saravan border area of Balochistan in March last year, had a clear intention of creating terror and unrest in Pakistan.
The world is well aware of the tactics used by India and yet it seems as though international community deliberately looks the other way when it suits them best. Playing the victim card and accusing other entities and states, especially Pakistan with a litany of lies/false accusations has been a distasteful strategy of India for years.
History bears witness that India has on countless occasions tried to isolate Pakistan under false pretence of harbouring terrorism in the region. However, it is India which functions with a violent and extremist mindset, whether it is the Samjhota Express incident, the Gujrat massacre, oppression of Sikh community or above all the inhuman and barbaric practices in Jammu and Kashmir.
Moreover, its recent hue and cry at the ICJ reflects the same malicious intentions.
I am putting forward this question to my readers: Can an individual, who has himself admitted his involvement in multiple spying activities during his positioning in Pakistan, be set free or not punished for his horrendous and sickening crimes, not just against the state but also against the innocent people of Pakistan?
He – who was residing in Pakistan with his family under a fake identity–Hussain Mubarak Patel – upon his arrest was found possessing an original Indian passport from where the agencies identified him as a former Indian naval officer. It is interesting to mention that Jadhav’s father Sudhir Jadhav did not deny the allegations against his son and remained inaccessible.
It is important for the readers to know that Jadhav was not only a spy but also a middle man helping India finance and facilitate terrorist networks across Pakistan. His special assignments included Mehran base attack, the murder of M Aslam, promoting rigorous insurgence in Balochistan and sabotaging smooth implementation of CPEC, and for that purpose he was also supposed to help infiltrate 30 to 40 RAW agents into Pakistan.
Not to my surprise, Jadhav confessed that he was under the command of RAW Joint Secretary Anil Kumar Gupta and their main intention was to ruin peace in our beloved homeland.
Whereas, India as always is labelling Jadhav’s confession as a forced divulgence but in my viewpoint an individual caught red-handed with stacks of clear evidence against him proved his involvement in terrorist activities which cannot be nullified.
It is for this very reason that Kulbhushan was tried according to the law of the land in a fully transparent manner and awarded death sentence as per the Constitution of Pakistan under Section 59 of Pakistan Army Act (PAA) 1952 and Section 3 of Official Secret Act of 1923.
Despite knowing India’s true intentions to prolong the matter and defame Pakistan in the process, it is beyond my understanding that why did Pakistan fall prey to this trap? The situation was clear enough for the Foreign Office to withdraw the acceptance of ICJ jurisdiction, as it was a voluntary decision made in isolation, without taking the nation into confidence. Pakistan should have simply rejected the Indian claim of taking the case to ICJ under the clause of “provisional measures”, as we did not violate any international agreement by giving a terrorist/spy what he truly deserves.
However, it should be duly noted that according to the Clause 6 of the “Agreement on Consular Access” signed in Islamabad on May 21, 2008, by the two high commissioners, Shahid Malik of Pakistan and Satyabrata Pal of India, states: “In case of arrest, detention, or sentence made on political or security grounds, each side may examine the case on its merits. Furthermore, our domestic law i.e. the Diplomatic and Consular Privileges Act of 1972 solely talks about the ‘consular right and privileges’ and is empty of any binding content purporting to provide consular access to foreign nationals arrested or detained on criminal or immigration charges.”
Thus Pakistan is not obligated to provide Kulbhushan consular access. In effect to that, Article 36 of the Vienna Convention does not create a binding obligation on a state for providing consular access to foreign nationals arrested on criminal charges. In fact, the following para of the said Convention, Article 36 (2) makes it abundantly clear that this right “shall be exercised in conformity with the laws and regulations of the receiving State”.
Therefore, Pakistan has acted within the corners of its legal ambit by not providing consular access to Jadhav. Had he been granted consular access, it would have been considered an ultra vires.
I would also like to refresh the memory of the readers when back in 2008, India held Pakistan responsible for the isolated acts of a nonstarter actor, popularly known as Ajmal Kasab. The international community then stood by India, resulting in isolation of Pakistan. We then showed character by facilitating India to catch the culprits involved in the horrific Mumbai attacks on November 2008, using our soil. For this very reason when Kasab was hanged to death on 21st November 2012, Pakistan accepted the decision without any hinge. My question to the international community or rather my concern is now when a spy has been caught red-handed, actively involved in speeding wide range terrorism, why the international community is silent?
While Pakistan is surrounded by international threats, the need of exhibiting a united national front now is more than ever. However, legal and administrative failures of the government resulted in the presentation of a disintegrated legal defence in front of ICJ, disharmonious position of Pakistan in front of the world.
Despite of being in a favourable position, Pakistan lost its advantage by going to the ICJ hearing unprepared. It is a huge question, to why the Foreign Office did not show confidence in the national defence team just like their counterparts, but felt more comfortable in the abilities of a Qatari lawyer, who had a limited time to go by the case. The matter of not appointing an ad hoc Pakistani judge in the ICJ panel before May 10 is again a question mark on the performance of so-called well-prepared legal team in the defence of a national matter of such supreme importance.
This is a matter of Pakistan’s integrity and sovereignty which India tried to breach by fuelling a spy for its covert operations against our country. Thus, we must appear strong and united in defence of this case on the international front. Now that the government has decided to defend this case, I hope that we will learn from the past mistakes and specifically make sure that we don’t fracture our spine, the next time we present ourselves at the ICJ.