Foreign Office says Pakistan’s attorney general merely cited separate case to show discrepancy in Indian position
Pakistan’s Foreign Office on Friday rejected a claim of the Indian foreign ministry that Islamabad was trying to link Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav’s case to that of another imprisoned Indian national.
“It is evident that by casting aspersions on the Indian High Commission’s own legal counsel, the Indian government is looking for an escape from the legal proceedings in Commander Jadhav case,” read the statement. A day earlier, a spokesperson for India’s Ministry of External Affairs claimed that Islamabad was attempting to link Jadhav’s case with that of Indian national Muhammad Ismail, who is also currently imprisoned in Pakistan.
In its statement, the Foreign Office reminded the Indian government that Pakistan had invited the Indian High Commission to meet Jadhav in line with the International Court of Justice’s ruling, and appoint a lawyer on his behalf so proceedings to review and reconsider his conviction could commence. “However, during the course of diplomatic exchanges, the Indian High Commission refused to instruct a lawyer itself, as in their view this would amount to a waiver of India’s sovereign immunity,” it said, adding that this had left Pakistan with no choice but to initiate proceedings to appoint state counsel for Jadhav.
“During the course of the proceedings, to show the discrepancy in the Indian position, the attorney general of Pakistan cited the case of Muhammad Ismail, an Indian national currently in custody in Pakistan, where the Indian High Commission had instructed Noon as its lawyer,” it said.
“Contrary to the false statement by the Indian MEA, no attempt was made to link the cases of Commander Jadhav with another Indian prisoner Ismail. The two cases are and remain entirely distinct. Reference to the case of Ismail was only for purpose of showing the discrepancy and inconsistency in the Indian position,” it added.
The Foreign Office stressed that the Pakistani government had already provided the Indian High Commission consular access to Jadhav twice. “Pakistan has taken all the necessary steps for an effective review and reconsideration in the case. The offer of third consular access is still there,” it said.
“The Indian side is once again urged to desist from the use of its usual diversionary and dilatory tactics and instead take practical steps so that legal proceedings could be duly concluded and full effect could be given to the judgment of ICJ,” it added.
Jadhav, a serving commander of the 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 asked Pakistan for an “effective review and reconsideration of the conviction and sentence of Jadhav” and maintained a stay on his execution until the review had been completed.