The International Court of Justice (ICJ) order asking Pakistan not to execute alleged India spy Kulbushan Jadhav pending its final decision was a huge setback for the Islamic nation which was confident of a favourable verdict in the case.
Though Pakistani analysts exuded confidence over the lack of jurisdiction of the ICJ to hear the case, the court in its detailed order said that prima facie it felt that it had jurisdiction to go into the matter.
Since the verdict is out and has caused disappointment in Pakistan, observers in the country say the jurisdiction argument 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 presented 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.
Senior PPP leader and Pakistan's former ambassador to the US, Sherry Rehman said that the jurisdiction argument by Qureshi was weak and that he would have made more arguments on espionage.
“We based our case on jurisdiction and it proved weak. More arguments should have been made regarding espionage,” she noted.
Lawyer Feisal Naqvi said that the ‘court was still not sure about its jurisdiction’.
Citing the court’s judgement, Naqvi said that the ultimate question is about consular access to Jadhav.
“It is normal that ICJ has said that we feel we might have jurisdiction, so they have asked for a stay. It is their impression that they have jurisdiction. They aren't final about it. It happens quite often that the court first orders a stay, then examines the situation more closely before giving a verdict,” the lawyer said.
The ICJ at The Hague today stayed the execution of the 46-year-old Indian national, who has been sentenced to death by a Pakistan military court on charges of espionage and subversive activities.
In a major boost to India, which moved the UN's highest judicial body in the case, the ICJ instructed Pakistan to take all ‘necessary measures at its disposal to ensure that Jadhav is not executed pending a final decision by it’.
It further asked Islamabad to inform the Court of all the measures taken in implementation of the present order.