Kulbhushan Jadhav case: May have to go back to ICJ as Pakistan refuses to give access, says advocate Harish Salve

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Kulbhushan Jadhav, accused of spying by Pakistan, was sentenced to death by now-abolished military courts in April 2017. In its July 2019 order, the ICJ had asked Pakistan to undertake an “effective” review of the conviction and sentence of Kulbhushan Jadhav and asked it to grant consular access to him without further delay.

Kulbhushan Jadhav was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court in 2017.

India’s counsel on the Kulbhushan Jadhav case, Harish Salve has said that the country may have to back to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to get direction as Pakistan has failed acted on the court’s decision and give access to the retired Indian Navy official.

Kulbhushan Jadhav, accused of spying by Pakistan, was sentenced to death by now-abolished military courts in April 2017. In its July 2019 order, the ICJ had asked Pakistan to undertake an “effective” review of the conviction and sentence of Kulbhushan Jadhav and asked it to grant consular access to him without further delay.

Harish Salve, who was sharing the case Kulbhushan Jadhav insights in an online lecture, said India has had seven or eight exchanges with Pakistan. “We have been trying to persuade Pakistan to let him go. If they want to say they are releasing him on humanitarian grounds, they can do so. We want him back,” Harish Salve said.

“It has become a big ego problem in Pakistan. We have written them several letters, they just keep denying. I think we have reached a point where we may have to decide on whether we want to go back to the ICJ for the consequential directions. Pakistans has just not moved ahead,” he said.

On the question of how can India assure that Kulbhushan Jadhav does not get treated like Sarabjit Singh, Harish Salve said India has been doing all that is possible, including keeping the spotlight on the case.

He also said that the case is also mentioned in the ICJ’s annual presentation of important cases to the United Nations (UN). “We have kept the glare on this case in the hope that Pakistan, despite what it, will not act worse than it generally does,” Harish Salve said.

Jadhav was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of espionage and terrorism in April 2017. Weeks later, India approached the ICJ against Pakistan for denial of consular access to Jadhav and to challenge the death sentence.

In its verdict in the case on July 17, the ICJ ordered Pakistan to undertake an “effective” review of the conviction and sentence of Jadhav and asked it to grant consular access to him without further delay.

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About the author: Sohom Das
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