India demands immediate release of Kulbhushan

July 19, 2019

Ag AFPISLAMABAD: India has demanded that Pakistan should immediately release Kulbhushan Jadhav.It has been urged by Indian Minister for External Affairs on Thursday while speaking in the two houses...

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ISLAMABAD: India has demanded that Pakistan should immediately release Kulbhushan Jadhav.

It has been urged by Indian Minister for External Affairs on Thursday while speaking in the two houses of Indian Parliament in New Delhi.

Pakistan has outrightly rejected the Indian demand as the sources in Foreign Office told The News Thursday evening that the demand is ridiculous and utterly misplaced since the Indian spy responsible for massive terrorism in Pakistan is still on the death row. Indian media has claimed that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) has directed Pakistan to suspend the death sentence given in 2017 to Jadhav on charges of espionage and sabotage. “The government will vigorously continue its efforts to ensure his safety and wellbeing, as well as his early return to India,” Jaishankar said as members cutting across party lines welcomed the landmark judgement by thumping benches.

Jadhav, 49, an Indian navy officer, was sentenced to death by the Pakistani military court on charges of “espionage and terrorism” after a trial in April 2017.

Jaishankar, who first made the statement in Rajya Sabha and then in Lok Sabha, noted that Jadhav was awarded a death sentence by a Pakistani military court martial on “fabricated charges”. This was done without providing Indian representatives consular access to him, as envisaged by international law and practice, he contented. “We made it clear even at that time that India would view very seriously the possibility that an innocent Indian citizen could face death sentence in Pakistan without due process and in violation of basic norms of law and justice,” the minister said.

To ensure Jadhav’s wellbeing and safety and to secure his release, Jaishankar said, India approached the ICJ to seek appropriate relief. “The ICJ delivered its judgement on July 17, 2019. Very significantly, the court unanimously found that it had jurisdiction on the matter and by a vote of 15-1, pronounced on the other key aspects of the case. “The dissenting judge was from Pakistan,” he said.

The ICJ pronounced that Pakistan had breached obligations under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. “It did so by not notifying India without delay of the detention of Jadhav, thereby depriving us of the right to render consular assistance,” he said. The minister also praised senior advocate Harish Salve, who argued India’s case in the ICJ and lauded Jadhav’s family’s courage in these difficult circumstances. Pakistan, he said, was also found to have deprived India of the right to communicate with Jadhav, have access to him, visit him in detention and arrange his legal representation.

“The court declared that Pakistan is under an obligation to inform Jadhav without further delay of his rights and to provide India consular access to him,” he said.

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