Senior Pakistani officials say India has thus far not exhausted all legal avenues for appeal
Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav has the option to file a review petition against his sentencing and conviction by a Pakistani military court, senior officials of Pakistan’s Foreign Office said on Wednesday.
Foreign Office Director General (South Asia) Zahid Hafeez and Additional Attorney General Ahmad Irfan told a press conference in Islamabad that Islamabad had taken required steps in accordance with the International Court of Justice (ICJ)’s decision on July 17, 2019. According to Hafeez, Jadhav has the option to file a review and reconsideration petition through his legally authorized representative or a consular officer of the Indian High Commission at the Islamabad High Court. He said Islamabad has also offered to assist in arranging a legal representative for the spy.
The Foreign Office official said that while the right of review had always existed, Pakistan had on May 20 enacted the ICJ Review and Reconciliation Ordinance, 2020, under which a review petition may be submitted to the IHC within 60 days of the legislation coming into effect. The 60-day time limit ends on July 19.
“Commander Kulbushan Jadhav or his lawyer may file a mercy appeal. [He] was offered on June 17, 2020, to file a review petition but he declined,” he added.
Hafeez said Pakistan was fully aware of its international responsibilities and was ready to implement the ICJ’s decision. “We hope that India, instead of politicking over this matter, would take a legal route and cooperate,” he said.
The additional attorney general said India had requested Pakistan to allow Indian lawyers to fight the case, but this was not possible as only Pakistani lawyers licensed with that particular court could appear before the bench. “So far, we cannot say that India has not filed the review petition as legal avenues have still not been exhausted,” he said, adding that it was hoped India, as a responsible state, would proceed with the matter.
To a question, Hafeez said Pakistan had offered India consular access to Jadhav for a second time, after Delhi had rejected an earlier offer last August. He said the offer was made this time for Jadhav to meet with his wife and father. The Indian spy had on Dec. 25, 2017 met his wife and mother in Islamabad.
Jadhav, a serving commander of Indian Navy associated with Indian spy agency Research and Analysis Wing, was arrested on March 3, 2016, from Balochistan on allegations of espionage and terrorism. A Pakistani military court sentenced him to death on April 10, 2017.
Last July, the ICJ had asked Pakistan for an “effective review and reconsideration of the conviction and sentence of Jadhav” and maintained a stay on his execution until “effective review.”