The handling of Kulbhsuhan Jadhav case by Pakistani lawyers in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) has invited heavy criticism from experts as well as media in the country. Apparently, the general belief in the country is that Pakistan committed a “mistake” at the ICJ.
Dawn reports that the ICJ order has “caused shock and disappointment in Pakistan.” The ICJ on Thursday stayed the death sentence awarded to Indian national Kulbhsuhan Jadhav by a Pakistani military court, pending a final decision in the case. The ICJ also asked Pakistan to take all measures to ensure that Jadhav was not executed till the court delivers its final verdict in the case.
A former Indian navy officer-turned-businessman, Jadhav was kidnapped from Iran last year and arrested by Pakistan on espionage charges on March 3, 2016. On April 10 this year, a Pakistani military court sentenced him to death. As Pakistan had already denied India consular access to Jadhav, India approached the ICJ for a stay order on the death sentence.
At the ICJ, Pakistani lawyers argued that the world court had no jurisdiction in the matter that concerned Islamabad’s “national interest”. While ICJ rejected the jurisdiction argument, Pakistani experts now believe that this was a “weak” and “damaging” claim, according to Dawn. Justice (r) Shaiq Usmani of Pakistan told the Pakistani daily, “It’s Pakistan’s mistake to have appeared there. They shouldn’t have attended. They have shot themselves in the foot.”
Pakistan foreign office continues to maintain that ICJ order would not have any impact on the Kulbhushan Jadhav case in Pakistan. However, Justice Usmani said Jadhav cannot be executed until the final decision of the ICJ is announced.
A London-based Pakistani lawyer, Rashid Alam said Pakistan was “ill-prepared” and could not use the time properly to present its argument before the world court. Pakistani analyst Zahid Hussain said the ICJ order is “morally” binding on Pakistan, but not legally. Former Pakistan attorney, General Irfan Qadir told Dawn that the country’s lawyers, who argued the case at ICJ, were “inexperienced”.
Meanwhile, Sherry Rehman, leader of Pakistan’s main opposition party PPP, said Pakistan’s case against India at ICJ was “weak”.
Pakistan’s advisor to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said his country would form a new team of lawyers to fight Kulbhushan Jadhav case at the ICJ, according to a report by Pakistani’s The Nation.
After the ICJ order on Thursday, India’s defense minister Arun Jaitley had said that the ICJ order is a very serious indictment of the kind of mockery of the judicial system that exists in Pakistan. “For any student of law, it is obvious that secret proceedings conducted in darkness are conspiratorial in nature and denial of consular access only emphasizes that denial. It is a great vindication of India’s stand and our entire team at The Hague deserves to be congratulated,” he told reporters in Srinagar.