NEW DELHI: India on Thursday called upon Pakistan to take necessary steps to address the shortcomings in a recently-passed bill which allows Kulbhushan Jadhav the right to appeal against his conviction.
Spokesperson in the ministry of external affairs (MEA) Arindam Bagchi said the bill has a provision for inviting the municipal court to decide whether any prejudice has been caused to Jadhav on account of the failure to provide consular access in accordance with a verdict of the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
He said the municipal court cannot be the arbiter of whether the state has fulfilled its obligation under international law.
Bagchi also called upon Pakistan to comply with the ICJ’s judgment in the Jadhav case.
Jadhav, the 50-year-old retired Indian Navy officer, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of espionage and terrorism in April 2017.
India approached the International Court of Justice against Pakistan for denial of consular access to Jadhav and challenging the death sentence.
The Hague-based ICJ ruled in July 2019 that Pakistan must undertake an “effective review and reconsideration” of the conviction and sentence of Jadhav and also to grant consular access to India without further delay.
The Pakistan government last week rushed through the National Assembly a bill to provide the right of appeal to Jadhav, amid ruckus and boycott by the opposition. The bill is aimed at allowing Jadhav to have consular access in line with the ICJ verdict.
Reacting to the development, former attorney general Mukul Rohatgi had said the judicial system in Pakistan is not trustworthy and the only way Jadhav can get relief is when his plea is heard in a neutral country with a good judicial system.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) adjourned the hearing of the government’s plea to appoint counsel for Jadhav till October 5 at the request of the Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Khalid Javed Khan, The Express Tribune reported.
The court also issued notice to the counsel of the Indian High Commission to appear before the court on the next date of hearing.
At the last hearing of the case on May 7, an IHC larger bench – comprising Justice Athar Minallah, Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb – gave India another chance to appoint a counsel for Jadhav by June 15.
(With inputs from PTI, ANI)