The International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague has stayed the execution of Kulbhushan Jadhav, providing India a shot in the arm to put pressure on Pakistan to provide consular access. The 11-judge bench at the UN Court had virtually rejected all the claims made by Pakistan asking it to ensure that Jadhav is not executed pending the final decision in these proceedings. Jadhav was arrested on March 3 last year. He was awarded death sentence by a military court in Pakistan that convicted him of espionage. While India has welcomed the verdict as the matter of great relief, several voices have spoken in different tones in the neighbouring country.
Foreign Office spokesperson Nafees Zakaria had rejected the verdict saying Pakistan does not accept ICJ’s jurisdiction in matters related to national security. A few hours later, Pakistan Punjab government said that the country accept the judgement announced by the the UN’s highest judicial body. The all-powerful military has not released any official statement. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his government have received flaks from various quarters over the issue. According to IE report, New Delhi says it remains to be seen whether the Sharif government can influence the Pakistan Army to accept Indian request of consular access to Jadhav. Pakistan Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah, however, said, “We will accept the decision of the ICJ on Kulbhushan. Although Kulbhushan’s case does not fall in the jurisdiction of the ICJ, Pakistan accepts its decision.”
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According to the report, Foreign Affairs to the Pakistan Prime Minister Sartaj Aziz, Advisor said the stay by the ICJ was not something extraordinary. Aziz said it was wrong to suggest that the selection of counsel was not appropriate. The Dawn reported that the ICJ decision had caused shock and disappointment in Pakistan.
While there were differing voices in Pakistan on whether the ICJ order will be implemented or not, New Delhi reminded them that the order is “legally binding”.
While India sees the verdict, a significant diplomatic achievement in the current standoff with Islamabad even as it is considering reiterating their request for consular access again in the next few days, the IE report says. However, the court did not issue directions on consular access.