Wednesday Jul 08, 2020
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has enacted a special ordinance to offer Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav a chance to file a review petition against his sentence and conviction, top officials at the Foreign Office said Wednesday.
Jadhav, a serving commander of Indian Navy associated with Indian spy agency Research and Analysis Wing, was arrested on March 3, 2016, from Balochistan on allegations of espionage and terrorism.
He was given a death sentence by a Pakistan military court on April 10, 2017.
Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, FO Director-General South Asia Zahid Hafeez and Additional Attorney General Ahmad Irfan explained that Pakistan has taken all necessary steps as per the International Court of Justice's (ICJ) decision on July 17, 2019, and that the country's law allowed for a review of the decision from the start.
A review and reconsideration petition could be filed by Jadhav, his legally-authorised representative or a consular officer of the Indian High Commission at the Islamabad High Court (IHC), Hafeez said, adding that Pakistan had offered to assist in arranging a legal representative for the spy.
He explained that Pakistan had, on May 20, enacted the ICJ Review and Reconciliation Ordinance, under which a review petition may be submitted to the IHC within 60 days of the legislation coming into effect.
The 60-day time limit ends on July 19.
"Commander Kulbushan Jadhav or his lawyer may file a mercy appeal. [He] was offered on June 17, 2020, to file a review petition but he declined."
Hafeez noted that Pakistan was fully aware of its international responsibilities and ready to implement the ICJ's decision. "We hope that India, instead of politicking over this matter, would take a legal route and cooperate," he said.
Irfan said India had requested Pakistan for permission to fight the case through Indian lawyers, however as per legal limitations, only Pakistani lawyers licensed with that particular court could appear before the bench.
The Indian side was contacted immediately after the ordinance through a written correspondence, he added.
“So far, we cannot say that India has not filed the review petition as legal avenues have still not been exhausted,” the additional attorney general said, expressing hope that India as a responsible state would proceed with the matter.
Irfan said the government of Pakistan was not aware if India had engaged any lawyer to file a petition of review and reconsideration against Pakistan court’s sentence to Kulbhushan Jadhav.
He said the review petition may be filed by any one of three modes, i.e. by Jadhav himself, by his legally authorised lawyer or by the government of India.
Hafeez said Pakistan has offered India consular access for a second time to Jadhav, after the offer was rejected in August last year.
He said usually the consular access was granted once, however Pakistan as a “humanitarian gesture was extending another such offer for the second time”.
This time, he said, the offer was made for Jadhav's meeting with his wife and father.
Earlier, a meeting was arranged between his wife and mother on December 25, 2017 in Islamabad.
Hafeez said it was obligatory upon the government of Pakistan to inform Jadhav about his rights under Article 36 of the Vienna Convention and also provide him access to legal representation.
He said Pakistan had taken a number of measures to comply with the decision of ICJ.
To a question on how Pakistan was apprising the world about India’s involvement in terrorist activities, he said the international community is cognizant of such heinous acts on the part of India.
"Pakistan will continue to expose Indian and RAW-sponsored designs at international level," he added.