After Pakistan claimed on Wednesday that Kulbushan Jadhav, a former Indian Navy officer being held in Pakistan, has refused to initiate review petition, the Ministry of External Affairs called it a “continuation of farce” and stated that the Indian national was coerced by Islamabad to forego his rights to seek implementation of the judgment of the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava reacting to Pakistan’s statement said that India sought unimpeded access to Jadhav to discuss his remedies under the Ordinance that allowed the High Court to review the sentence awarded by Pakistan’s military court.
Srivastava said that the Indian government will do its utmost to protect Jadhav and ensure his safe return to India. “To that end, it would consider all appropriate options,” he said.
“Pakistan’s claim that Jadhav, who is incarcerated in Pakistan’s custody, has refused to initiate review petition is a continuation of the farce that has been in play for the last four years. Jadhav has been sentenced to execution through a farcical trial. He remains under custody of Pakistan’s military. He has clearly been coerced to refuse to file a review in his case,” Srivastava said in the statement.
“India sought unimpeded access to Jadhav to discuss his remedies under the Ordinance. In a brazen attempt to scuttle even the inadequate remedy under the Ordinance, Pakistan has obviously coerced Jadhav to forego his rights to seek implementation of the judgment of the ICJ,” he added.
In July last year, the ICJ, by a vote of 15-1, had upheld India’s claim that Pakistan has committed an egregious violation of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations on several counts. The world court had ordered Islamabad to carry out an effective “review and reconsideration” of his conviction.
Pakistan has on May 20 passed an Ordinance to allow for the High Court to review the sentence awarded by their military court. Srivastava said Islamabad is only seeking to create an illusion of remedy and is attempting to create a mirage of compliance with the last year ICJ judgment.
“They have all along maintained that their laws allowed for effective review and reconsideration while we have protested it all along. Now, after almost a year, they have made a U-turn and issued an Ordinance to ostensibly provide for some sort of review. We have already expressed our serious concerns at the content of the Ordinance and how it violates the ICJ judgment. Pakistan is only seeking to create an illusion of remedy,” he said.
Srivastava highlighted that Pakistan continues to deny India free and unimpeded access to Jadhav despite India’s repeated requests. “India has repeatedly asked to allow a lawyer from outside Pakistan to appear for Jadhav in any review and reconsideration proceedings. Pakistan has denied it,” the statement read.
Pakistan Additional Attorney General Ahmed Irfan, while addressing a media conference along with DG South Asia in Islamabad on Wednesday said that Jadhav was invited to file a petition for review and reconsideration of his sentence and conviction on June 17 but he refused to file a petition for review and reconsideration of his sentence and conviction.
Jadhav was purportedly “arrested” from Balochistan by Pakistani security forces on March 3, 2016, after he allegedly entered the country from Iran as claimed by Islamabad. India has rejected Pakistan’s allegations about Jadhav’s involvement in spying and subversive activities and said he was kidnapped from the Iranian port of Chabahar where he was running a business.
Srivastava said: “Since 2017, when Military Court carried out a farcical trial, Pakistan has refused to hand over any relevant document, including FIR, evidence, court order, etc in the case to India. Clearly, Pakistan is attempting to create a mirage of compliance with the ICJ judgment”.