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MEA asks Pakistan to 'address shortcomings' in bill related to Kulbhushan Jadhav case

Kulbhushan Jadhav, a 50-year-old retired Indian Navy officer, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of espionage and terrorism in April 2017.

June 18, 2021 / 08:53 AM IST
Retired Indian Navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav was sentenced to death in 2017 by a military court in Pakistan on charges of espionage and terrorism.

Retired Indian Navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav was sentenced to death in 2017 by a military court in Pakistan on charges of espionage and terrorism.

India has asked Pakistan to review a bill passed by its assembly to facilitate reviewing the case of death row convict Kulbhushan Jadhav. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has asked Pakistan to address the "shortcomings" of the bill saying the proposed law does not create a mechanism to reconsider it as mandated by the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi criticised the provision in the bill which invited municipal courts to decide whether any prejudice has been caused to Jadhav by Pakistan on account of its failure to provide consular access in accordance with the verdict of the ICJ, as per an Indian Express report.

The Pakistan government had earlier in June rushed through the National Assembly a bill to provide the right of appeal to Jadhav, amidst ruckus and boycott by the Opposition. The bill is aimed at allowing Jadhav to have consular access in line with the ICJ verdict.

Read: Pakistan adopts ICJ ordinance allowing Kulbhushan Jadhav to appeal conviction

Bagchi said that the Review and Reconsideration Bill 2020 does not create a mechanism to facilitate effective review and reconsideration of Jadhav's case as mandated by the ICJ.

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"This is clearly a breach of the basic tenet that municipal courts cannot be the arbiter of whether a state has fulfilled its obligations in international law. Not only this, it further invites the municipal court to sit in appeal, as it were, over the judgment of the ICJ," Bagchi said.

"We call upon Pakistan to take appropriate steps to address the shortcomings in the Bill and to comply with the judgment of the ICJ in letter and spirit," he added.

Also read: After two-year impasse, India and Pakistan clear all pending assignment visas for diplomats: MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi

Jadhav, a 50-year-old retired Indian Navy officer, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of espionage and terrorism in April 2017.

After India approached it, the Hague-based ICJ ruled in July 2019 that Pakistan must undertake an "effective review and reconsideration" of the conviction and sentence of Jadhav and also to grant consular access to India without further delay.

Meanwhile, the Islamabad High Court adjourned the hearing of the government's plea to appoint counsel for Jadhav till October 5 at the request of the Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Khalid Javed Khan.
Moneycontrol News
first published: Jun 18, 2021 08:53 am

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