A day after the International Court of Justice (ICJ) asked Pakistan to review the death penalty given to former naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav, India called upon to Pakistan to forthwith release him.
External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, making a statement in both the Houses of Parliament, asserted that India would vigorously continue with its efforts to bring him back. He described the ICJ verdict as a vindication of India’s position and a reiteration of the rule of law.
“We once again call upon Pakistan to release and repatriate him forthwith. Pakistan was found to have deprived India of the right to communicate with Shri Jadhav, have access to him, visit him in detention and arrange his legal representation. The government will vigorously continue its efforts to ensure his safety and wellbeing, as well as his early return to India,” Mr. Jaishankar said amidst loud thumping of the benches by members cutting across party lines, including Congress Parliamentary Party chairperson Sonia Gandhi.
The Minister, who thanked the legal team, including Harish Salve, said Jadhav had been awarded the death sentence by a military court in April 2017 on fabricated charges of espionage and terrorism and denied him any access to meet the Indian representatives in Pakistan.
“Kulbhushan Jadhav is innocent of the charges made against him. His forced confession without legal representation and due process will not change this reality. We made it clear even at that time that India would view very seriously the possibility that an innocent Indian citizen could face the death sentence in Pakistan without due process and in violation of basic norms of law and justice,’’ he said.
India moved ICJ to ensure Jadhav’s well-being, safety and secure his release, he pointed out.
“The ICJ delivered its judgement on July 17,2019. Very significantly, the court unanimously found that it had jurisdiction over 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 noted.
Mr. Jaishankar said the verdict made it clear that Pakistan would have to restore the rights available to Jadhav, who is now lodged in a Pakistani jail.
“The court declared that Pakistan is under an obligation to inform Shri Jadhav without further delay of his rights and to provide India consular access to him. It stated that appropriate reparation in this case was for Pakistan to provide, by means of its own choosing, review and reconsideration of the conviction and sentence of Shri Jadhav,” Mr Jaishankar said.
He maintained that a “continued stay of execution constitutes an indispensable condition for the process of effective review and reconsideration”.
The Minister said the ICJ verdict was not “only a vindication for India and Shri Jadhav, but for all those who believe in the rule of law and the sanctity of international treaties”.
Release Jadhav forthwith, India tells Pakistan – The Hindu