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Thursday May 18, 2017

ICJ to announce verdict in Kulbhushan Jadhav case today

THE HAGUE: The International Court of Justice (ICJ), the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, is expected to announce its verdict on the request for the indication of provisional measures made by India in the Kulbhushan Jadhav's case at 3pm today.

The ICJ on Monday conducted hearing into India's petition demanding staying of Pakistan's death sentence to Kulbhushan Jadhav, a RAW operative and on-duty Indian navy officer, was apprehended from Balochistan in a counter-intelligence operation in March 2016.

Pakistan’s counsel, Khawar Qureshi, presented the country’s stance in the ICJ on the death sentence handed to Jadhav , contending that according to the Vienna Convention the case cannot be heard in the ICJ.

“India has not provided any evidence to rebut that Jadhav is a terrorist,” Qureshi informed the court, moving it to turn down India's request.

A public sitting will take place at the Peace Palace in The Hague on Thursday (today) during which Judge Ronny Abraham will read out the verdict, the ICJ announced on its official website.

'Pakistan won't be cowed down by terrorists'

Speaking prior to Monday's hearing, Pakistan's South Asia and SAARC DG Dr. Muhammad Faisal said, "Pakistan will not be cowed down by terrorists and utilise all legal means to safeguard its people and soil."

"Kulbhushan Jadhav confessed to having conspired to fan terrorism inside Pakistan, while the passport he was found in possession of bore a Muslim name," he said.

The ICJ was also shown a copy of the passport seized from Jadhav at the time of his arrest.

H.E. Judge Ronny Abraham, President of the Court, during the hearing.
H.E. Judge Ronny Abraham, President of the Court, during the hearing.

"The court can see the passport bore a Muslim name and the copy of which was also provided to Indian authorities, but New Delhi has been unable to provide an explanation of it," the Pakistani diplomat said.

'India to find its claim dismissed'

Speaking to newsmen after the hearing on Monday, Qureshi explained, "The Government of India brought an application to seek an exceptional relief from the ICJ, the highest judicial organ of the United Nations, such application should only be brought in circumstances of extreme emergency.

"It is clear as we have tried to demonstrate in the court that the urgency was contrived and there's no substance in the application to court."

Incarcerated RAW operative Kulbhushan Jadhav
Incarcerated RAW operative Kulbhushan Jadhav.

He said that, in any event, applications for provisional measures are not evaluation of the merits or the facts. All an application for provisional measures is intended to do is to enable a full hearing to take place at a subsequent date.

An image of a fake passport Jadhav was found in possession of at the time of his arrest from Balochistan, Pakistan on March 3, 2016.
An image of a fake passport Jadhav was found in possession of at the time of his arrest from Balochistan, Pakistan on March 3, 2016.

"Government of Pakistan remains confident, whether it be the provisional measures or the application itself, the clarity of the law and the facts will prevail and India ultimately will find that its claim is dismissed," he said.

Arrest, confession, sentencing

Jadhav alias Hussein Mubarak Patel was arrested on March 3, 2016 in a ‘counter-intelligence operation’ from Mashkel area of Balochistan over his involvement in espionage and sabotage actives in Pakistan.

The incarcerated RAW agent, in his video statement, confessed to involvement in sabotage and espionage activities inside Pakistan, which has also been the crux of Islamabad’s case in the ICJ.

On April 10, a Field General Court Martial, under the Pakistan Army Act and Official Secrets Act, awarded death sentence to Jadhav for espionage and sabotage.

Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa also ratified the sentencing by the army tribunal.

Jadhav has since been on death row awaiting appeals.

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