A day after the International Court of Justice (ICJ) stayed the execution of Kulbhushan Jadhav pending its final verdict, people in Pakistan are now raising objections over why the Indian national was not allowed consular access.
Since Jadhav’s arrest in March 2016 in Balochistan, India has asked Pakistan as many as 16 times for consular access to Jadhav. However, it hasn’t been granted even once.
“Who gave the opinion to deny consular access to Jadhav in the first place,” Dawn quoted Pakistani rights activist Asma Jahangir as asking.
“Will it not endanger the rights of the prisoners languishing in Indian jails? Can one change international law?” Jahangir further asked.
A similar question was echoed by well-known Pakistani lawyer Yasser Latif Hamdani.
“Pakistan should have provided Kulbhushan with the consular access from the start,” said Latif.
“The ICJ was not going to say don't give consular access,” he added, while acknowledging ICJ for giving its verdict in just 10 days after India filed its case at The Hague court.
Latif told DunyaNews that that the ICJ took up India's matter on an urgent basis due to the lack of Pakistan’s assurance that it wouldn't hang Jadhav before the hearing is over. “Hence this stay order."
Yesterday, the ICJ agreed on India’s argument that Pakistan’s stand on the Jadhav case is a breach of the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, an international treaty that outlines the requirements for healthy working relations between independent nations, for maintaining “international peace and security”.
In its plea to the court, India, represented by lawyer Harish Salve, had expressed the fear that Jadhav might be executed even while the hearing at the ICJ was on.
Meanwhile, the ICJ’s order has caused disappointment in Pakistan, with observers in the country saying that the country’s argument questioning the jurisdiction of the ICJ in the matter was ‘weak and damaging’.
Justice (retd) Shaiq Usmani termed the decision alarming saying ‘Pakistan shouldn't have attended the court’.
Reiterating that the ‘ICJ does not have jurisdiction’, Usmani said, “It's Pakistan’s mistake to have appeared there. They shouldn't have attended. They have shot themselves in the foot.”
“Until the ICJ gives it verdict, the case will go on in Pakistan. But he cannot be executed until the stay order is there. The proceedings will continue here,” the retired justice added.
London-based Barrister Rashid Aslam noted that the country was ‘ill-prepared and did not ‘utilise’ the 90 minutes it had to make its argument’.
He said that lawyer Khawar Qureshi ‘didn't present the case quite well’.
“Pakistan had 90 minutes of argument time but we wasted 40 minutes. I was surprised why we finished our arguments in such little time,” Aslam said.
“It is very clear, article 5 B of the Vienna Convention, that if a civilian is caught he is subject to human rights law. But if it is a spy, then human rights are forfeited,” he added.
“Pakistan had the right to set up a judge there but we didn't do that. I think Pakistan was grossly unprepared. It might be that we didn't have enough time…,” he further said.