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Top Story

May 20, 2017



All stakeholders on same page: AG

ICJ case


Rejects propaganda on the issue

ISLAMABAD: Disclosing that he will now personally plead Pakistan’s case on Kulbushan Jadhav before the international court, Attorney General Ashtar Ausaf Ali has said that the country’s defence approach against India’s case before the ICJ was prepared by the government in consultation with all stakeholders, including the military establishment.

Talking to The News on Friday, the attorney general said that the lawyer who defended Pakistan’s case before the ICJ has not only been representing Pakistan in international arbitration before but was also cleared by the army and intelligence agencies to fight this highly-sensitive case.

The lawyer, Barrister Khawar Qureshi, was paid 50,000 Sterling Pounds. However, as against the Pakistani counsel, the Indian lawyer charged only one Indian rupee for his services. Referring to the Government of Pakistan’s March 2017 declaration in relation to the jurisdiction of the ICJ, he said that the ongoing propaganda on the issue was misplaced and not factual.

“The correct position is that Pakistan had signed off to an unconditional declaration to agree to the jurisdiction of the ICJ way back in September 1960. In March 2017, we made a declaration of exceptions reservations and conditions,” the attorney general said.

In his written statement that he shared with this correspondent, he said, “In order to understand what the aforesaid reservations are, one will have to look at and compare the same with the original declaration which is available on the ICJ website.”

He said that the original -- 1960 declaration -- was without reservations and exceptions. Pakistan prior to March 2017 had signed up to an ipso facto compulsory jurisdiction of the ICJ. “In plain words, we had made no exceptions or reservations before,” he explained.

Ashtar Ausaf said that the impression being created is as if we agreed to compulsory jurisdiction of the ICJ in March 2017 with a sinister motive. “This is not true,” he said, adding, “we had become signatory to a declaration of submission to jurisdiction without any exceptions in September 1960."

In March 2017, he said, Pakistan created the firewalls, including the one relating to security of Pakistan for the first time. Even otherwise, he explained that in the present case, the ICJ is not looking at this aspect of the matter. “They are looking at the Vienna Convention and the optional protocol to the convention. India and Pakistan both are signatories to this. The optional protocol invests the ICJ with powers and jurisdiction to decide disputes between member states. The ICJ is looking at this aspect and not the one being referred to on the social network and the electronic media,” the attorney general said.

He said that there was no design or sinister motive behind the conditional reservation made in March this year. If we were to withdraw this declaration, we would have to go back to 1960 declaration which gives jurisdiction without exceptions, he maintained.