Pakistan submits reply to ICJ, dismisses India's stance on Kulbhushan Jadhav

The ICJ had set December 13 as the deadline for Pakistan to submit its counter-pleadings in the case

Khalid Hameed Farooqi

THE HAGUE: Pakistan has dismissed India's stance while submitting its reply in the case of convicted Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav to the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

In its counter-memorial, Pakistan has stated that Jadhav is not an ordinary person as he had entered the country with the intent of spying and carrying out sabotage activities. 

The reply also states that Jadhav, who was a serving officer of the Indian Navy, does not fall under the purview of the Vienna Convention.  

"Pakistan’s Counter Memorial in the case of the Indian spy and terrorist, a serving Indian Naval Officer and RAW Agent, Commander Kulbushan Jadhav was presented to the ICJ, in The Hague, today. MOFA Director (India), Dr Fareha Bugti, submitted Pakistan’s case," the Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal tweeted. 

The international court will now decide whether to take the case forward for hearing or ask the parties (India and Pakistan) to submit more documents. 

Talking to Geo News earlier, Attorney General of Pakistan Ashtar Ausaf Ali had said he thinks the case would be taken up for hearing around April, May. The recently elected judges of the ICJ will take their oath on February 6. Former chief justice of Pakistan Tassaduq Hussain Jillani will also serve as an ad-hoc judge in the bench.

Pakistan's reply was submitted by the Foreign Office's Director India, Fariha Bugti.

Earlier, Geo News reported that the reply was jointly prepared by the attorney general, Pakistan's legal team in the case, and officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Sources further revealed that the document includes details of Jadhav's involvement in subversive activities inside Pakistan, his trial and sentencing.

Commander Jadhav — an on-duty Indian navy officer working for Indian covert agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) — was arrested on March 3, 2016, from Balochistan, after he entered into Pakistan from Iran.

The reply also encompasses the charge-sheet against the convicted RAW operative and narrates Pakistan's stance in a comprehensive manner, sources had said.

On April 10, 2017, Pakistan had sentenced the RAW agent to death for carrying out espionage and sabotage activities in Balochistan and Karachi.

In a reaction to the move, Pakistan’s relations with neighbouring India tensed, and New Delhi approached the ICJ to hear the case.

On May 18, the ICJ ordered Pakistan to halt the execution of Jadhav until a final decision was made in the proceedings.

India had moved the ICJ to give it six months to file pleadings in the case, which the United Nations’ judicial organ had turned down in June this year. Later, New Delhi submitted its memorial (arguments) to the ICJ on September 13.

The ICJ had set December 13 as the deadline for Pakistan to submit its counter-pleadings in the case.

Arrest, confession, sentencing

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

The incarcerated RAW agent, in his video statement, has confessed to involvement in sabotage and espionage 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, 1952, and Official Secrets Act, 1923 — awarded death sentence to Jadhav for espionage and sabotage.

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

Jadhav has since been on the death row awaiting appeals.

Indian involvement in destabilising Pakistan

India has long had a history of fanning terrorism inside Pakistan by sponsoring terrorist outfits in Balochistan, the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, and Karachi.

Islamabad has said that the case of Kulbhushan Jadhav substantiates India’s continued involvement in subversive activities in Pakistan.

Earlier this year, Pakistan's permanent representative to the UN Maleeha Lodhi handed over a dossier to United Nations (UN) Secretary General Antonio Guterres detailing evidence of Indian subversive activities within Pakistani territory.

The dossier contained Jadhav's confessional statement and related documents and evidence of Indian interference in Balochistan. Video evidence of an Indian Navy submarine sneaking into Pakistani waters on November 18, 2016 was also part of the dossier.

The dossier also included proof of contacts of Indian intelligence officials, working under diplomatic cover at Indian High Commission in Islamabad, with terrorists. Pakistan, in the dossier, urged the United Nations to prevent India from attempting to destabilise it.

Investigations after Jadhav's arrest last year had revealed that the undercover Indian agent's main agenda was to sabotage the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) through propaganda and to create disharmony among the Baloch nationalist political parties.

However, Jadhav is not the first RAW operative caught snooping in Pakistan.

Prior to him, a good number of Indian spies have been spotted and hand-cuffed in Pakistan during the course of country's enmity with its neighbouring nation.

The most notable among dozens of Indian spies caught in Pakistan included Ravindra Kaushik (1952–1999), who was sent across the border in 1975 on a mission at the age of 23 after extensive training in Delhi for two years. Kaushik succeeded in getting a civilian clerk's job in the Military Accounts Department of the Pakistan Army and kept on passing valuable information to RAW from 1979 to 1983.

Another famous RAW agent Sarabjit Singh (also known as Manjit Singh) was convicted of terrorism and spying by the Pakistan Supreme Court for a series of bomb attacks that had killed 14 people in Lahore and Faisalabad during 1990.

A detailed list of Indian agents caught carrying out subversive activities and espionage in Pakistan can be read here in this exhaustive research conducted by the Jang Group and Geo Television Network.

Pakistan allows Jadhav to meet wife, mother

Pakistan has allowed Jadhav to meet his wife and mother on December 25, a spokesman for the Foreign Office said last week.

A staff member from the Indian embassy will also be present during the meeting, Dr Mohammad Faisal said, during the weekly news briefing.

Following Pakistan's announcement, Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said on Twitter, "I have spoken to Mrs Avantika Jadhav mother of Kulbhushan Jadhav and informed her about this."

Swaraj, in a series of message, stated that India had asked Pakistan to give the visa to Jadhav's mother as well after its decision to allow his wife to meet him.

She added that Pakistan has assured the Indian government of the safety, security and freedom of movement of Jadhav's family.