Kulbhushan Jadhav and his family will now be able to breathe easy given that the ICJ has ruled in favour of the Indian national who has been languishing in a Pakistani jail. Not just has India rallied behind the man but there has also been Pakistan who constantly maintained it got little time to prepare for the ICJ hearing.
India all this while has not only made appeals for consular access nearly 16 times but also did hawans across the country to ensure the man at the heart of the espionage case sees freedom. In a big victory in a judicial campaign spearheaded by ace jurist Harish Salve the ICJ ruled unanimously that Kulbhushan Jadhav cannot be executed till its final verdict.
Even as raging speakers from Pakistan continue to claim that they could very well go ahead with the execution, the ICJ makes clear the interim order on Kulbhushan Jadhav is binding on Pakistan.
The ICJ verdict, read out by court present Judge Ronny Abraham of France, also is in favour of Jadhav being entitled to consular access despite being tried as an alleged spy and that the Vienna convention was overridden by a bilateral pact signed between the two countries in 2008.
The developments come at a time when Indo Pak ties are at an all time low given the backdrop of a spate of terrorist attacks in 2016.
Charges against Jadhav were framed on basis of confessional statements extracted from him when he was in Pakistan’s military custody.
India had on 8 May moved a petition before the ICJ, the United Nation’s principal judicial organ, to seek justice for Jadhav.
The last time the two rivals faced off at the ICJ was two decades ago when Islamabad sought ICJ’s intervention over shooting down of a naval reconnaissance aircraft by the Indian Air Force in Gujarat’s Kutch region on 10 August 1999, killing all 16 naval personnel.
A Pakistani military court had handed the death sentence to Jadhav last month
Harish Salve on his part described Jadhav’s situation as “grave” and said that Pakistan had not responded to Jadhav’s mother’s plea to see her son.
India claims Jadhav was kidnapped from Iran.
Peritnently it was just few months back that Pakistan’s foreign policy chief Sartaj Aziz had acknowledged there was no “conclusive evidence” against Kulbhushan Jadhav, arrested in Balochistan for being a RAW agent.
Speaking in the upper house of Parliament in December 2016, Aziz had said the “dossier on Jadhav contained mere statements”. He said it did not have conclusive evidence.
Hours after Aziz’s remarks, the Foreign Office in Islamabad got into damage control mode saying that what Aziz said was “absolutely incorrect”.
While Pakistan claims Jadhav is a Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) spy, India has maintained that he was retired from the Navy in 2002.
The arrest of Kulbhushan Jadhav, the alleged operative of Research and Analysis Wing has not only seen commentators speaking up globally with indepth reportage across international media but the development even continues to threaten bitterness.
Claims were that the National Security Advisor Ajit Doval was his direct handler. A charge that has been rubbished multiple times by the government and other experts.
The Pakistan Army had released a confessional video of Jadhav, who said he was the serving Indian Navy officer.