Pakistan government has appointed former Chief Justice, Tassaduq Hussain Jillani as ad-hoc judge to lead the team from Pakistan’s side in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case that is being heard by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague.
Justice Jillani is a cousin of former Foreign Secretary, Jalil Abbas Jilani.
On the other hand, Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) representative, Raheel Kamran Sheikh has called upon the federal government to seek the Parliament’s approval on the appointment of an ad-hoc judge.
A high-level meeting was held in the attorney general’s office yesterday to discuss a future strategy and responses to the 22-page report submitted by India before the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which is hearing Kulbhushan Jadhav’s case, a retired Indian Navy officer sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court for his alleged role in espionage.
Apart from the Attorney General (AG) Ashtar Ausaf Ali, who presided over the meeting, representatives of the Foreign Office and the Ministry of Law and Justice as well as other stakeholders were present.
It has been decided that weekly meetings will be held in order to review the situation and “to finalise Islamabad’s point of view and convert it into an appropriate rejoinder to India’s allegations”.
The ICJ, located at the Peace Palace in The Hague, has given Pakistan the deadline of December 13 to submit its counter-plea or counter-memorial, after which the final proceedings on the issue will commence. The hearing of the case is expected to be fixed at the start of next year or end of this year.
The ICJ is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations which was established on June 1945 by the Charter of the United Nations.
Ausaf said they were in touch with the relevant stakeholders, including Khawar Qureshi who had pleaded Pakistan’s case at the initial stage, to formalize a robust reply refuting all allegations leveled against Pakistan.
Soon after a meeting with ICJ President Ronny Abraham and delegations of Pakistan and India in the Netherlands on June 8, Ausaf informed the international court about Pakistan’s intention to appoint an ad-hoc judge to sit on the ICJ bench for all proceedings, including substantive hearings in Jadhav’s case.While Foreign Affairs Director General, Dr Mohammad Faisal would continue to act as the co-agent.
Indian has accused Islamabad of violating the Vienna Convention by failing to provide him with consular access and for being in breach of international human rights law.
The ICJ on May 18 halted the execution of Jadhav. On April 10, Jadhav was given the death sentence by a military court in Pakistan for alleged “espionage and subversive activities”.
New Delhi has appealed to the court to impose emergency measures for Jadhav’s execution to be suspended until the legal battle in the Hague concludes.
Pakistan claims it arrested Jadhav in March last year from its restive Balochistan province, where the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor culminates.
India, however, maintains that Jadhav was kidnapped from Iran where he had business interests after retiring from the Indian Navy.