New Delhi: A day after the International Court of Justice (ICJ) stayed the death sentence of Kulbhushan Jadhav by a Pakistan military court for alleged espionage, external affairs minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar informed both Houses of Parliament that India would push Islamabad for his repatriation.
“The House (Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha) will recall that Kulbhushan Jadhav was awarded death sentence by a Pakistan military court on fabricated charges without providing him Indian representation and consular access as envisaged by international law and diplomatic practice. India would view very seriously that an innocent Indian citizen was facing death sentence in Pakistan without following due practice," Jaishankar said in a prepared statement.
Wednesday’s judgement was a vindication not just for Jadhav’s innocence, but also for the rule of law, Jaishankar said, adding India has called upon “Pakistan to release and repatriate him."
Hague-based ICJ on Wednesday ruled in favour of former Indian Navy officer Jadhav, who was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of “espionage and terrorism".
In its ruling, the international court affirmed Jadhav’s right to consular access and asked Pakistan to review his conviction and sentence, adding that his execution should be stayed till such time that Pakistan reviews the case.
Jaishankar said the ICJ’s “significant judgement" was unanimous with judges voting 15-1 in favour of India, with the sole dissenting judge belonging to Pakistan.
“To secure his release we approached ICJ. The body stayed his execution and death sentence as a provisional measure. The court found that Pakistan had violated the Vienna convention and it did not inform India of his detention and denied India the right to communicate with him, have consular access and to arrange for legal representation."
The appropriate reparation in this case, he said, was to provide means of access to Jadhav, adding that the “court has re-emphasized that the review of the sentence must be effected".
While Jaishankar thanked the legal team led by Harish Salve, Rajya Sabha chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu lauded the Upper House—where the ruling government is in a minority—for their solidarity on the issue.
Echoing the external affairs minister, Raveesh Kumar, foreign ministry spokesman, told reporters that “the (ICJ) court has observed that Pakistan is under obligation to inform Jadhav without further delay of his rights and to provide Indian consular officers access to him, we have said that we expect Pakistan to implement the directive immediately without further delay."
Former Union minister Arun Jaitley, too, launched a scathing attack on Pakistan’s subversion of diplomatic norms. In a strongly worded blog, Jaitley wrote: “Consular access is an extension of the principles of natural justice and fair play. An accused held in custody or detention in a foreign country has to be immediately informed that he has a right to seek consular access. The country to which the accused belongs has to be immediately informed that their national is in custody and, upon request, consular access has to be mandatorily provided."
Elizabeth Roche contributed to this story.
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