Kubhushan Jadhav case: ICJ verdict gives India a strong hand against Pakistan

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Updated: July 19, 2019 7:02:15 AM

The ICJ-mandated provision of consular access to Jadhav means that diplomatic negotiation between the two countries will begin anew, and, given Pakistan’s recent reopening of its airspace to Indian aircraft and Pakistani PM Imran Khan’s stated interest in establishing friendly ties with India, this ruling could not have come at a better time.

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The International Court of Justice (ICJ) gave India much reason to cheer on Wednesday—hearing India’s appeal against Pakistan’s imprisonment of Commander Kulbhushan Jadhav, the ICJ stayed Jadhav’s execution in a 15:1 ruling. It declared that the conditions of his detention were in violation of the Vienna Convention, and ordered Pakistan to hold an effective review and reconsideration of Jadhav’s conviction, and allow him consular access. Not only does this signal a significant diplomatic win for India and a resounding triumph for justice but also creates ideal conditions for reopening channels of dialogue between India and Pakistan.

The ICJ-mandated provision of consular access to Jadhav means that diplomatic negotiation between the two countries will begin anew, and, given Pakistan’s recent reopening of its airspace to Indian aircraft and Pakistani PM Imran Khan’s stated interest in establishing friendly ties with India, this ruling could not have come at a better time. Even though Pakistan claims the ICJ verdict is one in its favour—to the extent that its contention of the military court that tried Jadhav was itself illegal—former finance minister, quoting sections from the ICJ judgement, says that this is patently false and that the judgement doesn’t pronounce on the legality of the military courts, but strongly hints that an effective review of Jadhav’s conviction will mean that the trial by the military court stands invalidated.

Now, Pakistan may or may not choose to implement the ICJ verdict. But, Pakistan can’t be sure of its ally China’s help now, if the matter reaches the UN Security Council, that is mandated to act if an ICJ verdict is not executed, since a Chinese judge was part of the 15 that upheld India’s stand. So, the ICJ verdict may not compel the two neighbours, forever locked in acrimony, to talk peace, but given the relative economic positions of two countries and their global political standing diplomatic channels should be be revived.

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