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Pakistan Rejects India Calls to Allow QC Counsel for Jadhav

by Newsweek Pakistan

Foreign Office spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri. Courtesy Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Foreign Office spokesperson reiterates that only a lawyer licensed to practice in Pakistan can appear before its courts

Pakistan on Friday rejected a call by India to allow a Queen’s Council or Indian lawyer to represent convicted spy Kulbhushan Jadhav before court during a review of his ruling as mandated by the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

A Queen’s Counsel is a barrister or advocate appointed as counsel to the United Kingdom’s Crown on the recommendation of the Lord Chancellor. “Allowing a Queen’s Counsel for Jadhav is out of the question as only a lawyer with a license to practice in Pakistan can appear before court,” Foreign Office spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudri told a press briefing in Islamabad.

Criticizing India for “consistently making efforts” to evade the Jadhav case, the spokesperson said Pakistan had already given “uninterrupted and unimpeded” consular access to the spy and was ready to extend the same in future.

Separately, Chaudhri confirmed reports that Prime Minister Imran Khan would virtually address the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 25, with his focus primarily being on the issue of Jammu and Kashmir. He noted that due to COVID restrictions still in place in New York, there would be no in-person high-level participation from outside the U.S. at this year’s UNGA, adding that Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi would also participate virtually in the UNGA meeting set to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the United Nations.

To a question on the Indian Air Force adding five French-made Rafale fighter jets, the spokesperson said the development was “disturbing,” as it was part of an Indian pattern to amass military capabilities far beyond its security needs. He said that Rafale jets could be modified as nuclear delivery platforms, adding it would have an adverse effect on strategic stability in South Asia.

To another question, Chaudhri said any plans to make Gilgit-Baltistan Pakistan’s fifth province were part of ongoing political, economic, and administrative reforms for the region in line with the longstanding demands of its people. He also rejected the belief that it would equate to India’s unilateral decision to change the status of similarly disputed Jammu and Kashmir.

“The difference between the two situations is that India’s act is an illegal occupation with persistent violations of human rights. However, Pakistan will always comply with U.N. resolutions and aspirations of the people,” he said.

On last month’s Jodhpur incident in which 11 Pakistani Hindus, including children, were found dead under mysterious circumstances, the spokesperson called upon India to fully investigate the matter and share with Pakistan the results of any police investigation.

To a question on Pakistan’s position on Israel, Chaudhri said there was no change to Pakistan’s principled position on Palestine. The rights of the Palestinian people, including the right to self-determination, must be ensured, he added.

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