MEA bats for 'Indian lawyer' to represent Kulbhushan Jadhav in Pak court

    21-Aug-2020   
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The Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, is keen to have an 'Indian lawyer' represent former naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav in a Pakistani court but made it clear that authorities in Pakistan will have to address the core issues including ensuring "unimpeded consular access to Jadhav".
 
"We are in touch with Pakistan through diplomatic channels. For a free and fair trial in keeping with the letter and spirit of ICJ judgement, we have asked for Shri Jadhav to be represented by an Indian lawyer," MEA spokesman Anurag Srivastava told reporters here.
 
However, he also made it clear that - "Pakistan has first to address the core issues - giving copies of relevant documents of the case (against Jadhav) and providing unimpeded consular access to Shri Jadhav".
 
If decks are cleared, the Indian lawyer will be filing a 'review petition' against Jadhav's death sentence in Pakistan. Noted senior counsel Harish Salve represented Jadhav's case and India at the ICJ.
 
On August 8, Islamabad High Court set up a three-member bench to hear the review petition. The next date of hearing is September 3.
 
Jadhav, as alleged by Indian authorities, was picked up by Pakistani operatives in 2016 from the Iranian port of Chabahar, where he was running a business. Jadhav was sentenced to death by a military court in April 2017 in Pakistan.
 
The ICJ had stayed the capital punishment at the request of India, and after a fierce legal battle, it had ruled in favour of Jadhav and India in July 2019. The ICJ on July 17, 2019, by 15-1 verdict had held Jadhav's conviction wrong.
 
The ICJ declared that Pakistan is "under an obligation" to inform Shri Jadhav without further delay of his rights and to provide India consular access to him, External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar had said in his statement in both Houses of Parliament on July 18 last year.
 
Last month, Pakistan provided consular access to Jadhav. But MEA in Delhi maintained that a long-awaited meeting of Indian officials with Kulbhushan Jadhav did not yield expected results as they could not obtain "his written consent for arranging his legal representation".
 
India also had blasted Pakistan for its continuous "obstructive and insincere" policy with regard Jadhav, held in their custody since 2016. It charged Islamabad with "violating" its assurance given to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague.
 
"It is clear that Pakistan's approach to this matter (on Jadhav) continues to be obstructive and insincere. It has not only violated its assurance to the ICJ to fully implement the 2019 judgement but also failed to act in accordance with its Ordinance," MEA spokesman Anurag Srivastava has said after two Indian consular officials registered their protest at the conduct of Islamabad.