Vienna Convention provisions on consular access were not intended for a “spy” involved in terror activities, Pakistan today told the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which is hearing India’s plea on the death sentence given to its national Kulbhushan Jadhav.
India’s application on Jadhav, who was arrested in March last year and sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of espionage and subversive activities, was “unnecessary and misconceived” and must be dismissed, Pakistan told the UN’s highest judicial body.
India had been unable to provide an explanation for Jadhav’s passport which bears a Muslim name, Mohammed Faisal of the Pakistan Foreign Office said in his opening remarks in response to India’s submissions earlier in the day.
India was using the court as the “scene of political theatre” but “we will not respond in kind”, Faisal told the ICJ which held daylong proceedings to decide the fate of the former Indian Navy officer.
There has been deafening silence and no response from India on Pakistan’s accusations on Jadhav, Pakistan’s lawyer Khawar Qureshi said.
Expressing the fear that Jadhav, 46, might be executed before the hearing was over, India accused Pakistan of violating the Vienna convention and conducting a “farcical trial” without a “shred of evidence”.
Pakistan had denied India its 16 requests for consular access, India’s lead attorney Harish Salve said.
The urgent hearing comes after the ICJ last week stayed Jadhav’s execution. While India presented its argument over 90 minutes, Pakistan, which claims that Jadhav is an agent of India’s external intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), took less than an hour.
India wants the ICJ to annul Jadhav’s death sentence and for Pakistan to ensure that no action is taken that may prejudice the rights of India or of Jadhav.
Jadhav, the latest flashpoint in the tensions between Pakistan and India, was sentenced last month. On May 8, India moved the ICJ against the death penalty, alleging violation of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. On May 9, the highest court in the UN gave Jadhav a lease of life.
India, in its appeal to the ICJ, had asserted that Jadhav was kidnapped from Iran where he was involved in business activities after retiring from the Indian Navy. However, it denies that he has any connection with the government.
Pakistan claims to have arrested Jadhav from its restive Balochistan province.