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Saturday May 20 2017

India wrongly claiming victory: Pak counsel at ICJ

LONDON: The lawyer who represented Pakistan at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav’s case has said India is wrongly claiming victory [regarding the court’s verdict].

In a detailed interview with Geo News, Khawar Qureshi said, “The order issued by the ICJ is just a procedural order to enable full hearing. It certainly is not a victory for India by any means.”

He explained that the problem seems to be that this case is more about political point scoring than about the law.

Also read: ICJ stays Jadhav's execution pending final decision 

He said the facts about the case are simple: “India says Kulbhushan Jadhav shouldn’t be sentenced to death and that the ICJ should order his release, this is clearly not possible.” Qureshi said that on Monday the court made a procedural order to enable a full hearing to take place.

“It was very clear that the court didn’t want to hear about the merits or the jurisdiction. The court wanted to be satisfied whether commander Jadhav had been denied counselor access, which he had. The court wanted to be satisfied whether he has been sentenced to death, which he has, and whether the death sentence can be carried out, which it can.” For all those reasons, the court asked Pakistan to delay any carrying out of any sentence until the full hearing which is normal practice in any court, he added. “So there is nothing spectacular about what the court did.”

Qureshi criticised the Indian government and the media for running a vicious and baseless campaign against him and giving no regard to facts. He alleged that fake webpages about him have been crated in an attempt to tarnish his image.

“It is very disappointing that India should stoop to this level. I understand that someone said I had charged £720,000 in legal fees. Where did this figure come from? This is nonsense,” he lamented, and also cautioned the Pakistani media not to pick up everything India is saying and to fact-check all their statements. “My fees were not even 10 per cent of what the Indian propaganda suggests. I cancelled another professional commitment with another government to travel to Pakistan urgently. I gave a 30 per cent reduction on my fees, besides covering the cost of two of my juniors' fees,” he added.

Commenting on media reports that Pakistan should not have appeared at the ICJ in the case, Qureshi said, “It’s basic courtesy and common sense to appear before a court to explain who you are and why you think the other side is wrong. Not appearing is not an option unless you are unwise and stupid.”

He stated that at present the court was only interested in determining if a full hearing can take place — which it has decided on.

Also read: Who is Kulbhushan Jadhav? 

Commending the professionalism of Pakistani officials, he said “We received excellent support from Pakistan’s Foreign Office and those in-charge of the military courts and tribunals to produce the submission that we did. I was very pleased with them and I want to pay tribute to them, they did a first class job.”

Qureshi said Pakistan must push on with its case at the ICJ, adding that, India is wasting its time. 

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