The much awaited verdict on Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav’s case between India and Pakistan is expected to be delivered by the International Court of Justice at the Hague on Wednesday evening.
India has taken a firm stance at the ICJ at the Hague in Netherlands that Pakistan has been “irresponsible” in its conduct on the matter and also “violated international treaties and obligations to which it is a signatory”.
New Delhi had earlier alleged that Islamabad has been “in breach of Article 36(1) (b) of the Vienna Convention which obliged Pakistan to inform India of the arrest of an Indian national without delay”.
Indian side maintained that Jadhav was purportedly “arrested” on March 3, 2016, and it was only on March 25, 2016 that the Foreign Secretary of Pakistan informed the Indian High Commissioner in Islamabad of the “arrest”.
Pakistan has not offered any explanation as to why it took over three weeks to inform the Indian High Commissioner on the arrest of Jadhav, India has maintained.
Jadhav, 48, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of ‘espionage’ in April 2017 but after Indian government moved the international court, the 10-member bench of the ICJ on May 18, 2017 had given a stay order and ‘restrained’ Pakistan from executing Jadhav till adjudication of the case.
In its written pleadings, India has also accused that the Pakistan military court trial on Jadhav was “farcical”.
It may be mentioned in December 2017 Kulbhushan Jadhav was allowed by Pakistan to meet his wife and mother but later on MEA in Delhi said it appeared Jadhav was ‘under considerable stress’ and ‘speaking in an atmosphere of coercion’.
‘The Pakistani side conducted the meeting in a manner that violated the letter and spirit of our understandings,” MEA has said in 2017.
Sources said Jadhav was also denied the right to be defended by a legal counsel of his choice. His conviction and death sentence is based on ‘confessions’ taken in captivity.
In terms of background of the case, it may be stated that India had ‘succeeded’ in stopping Pakistan from taking the law into its own hands. “Pakistan’s argument that the International Court of Justice had no jurisdiction was overruled by the ICJ,” a source in the know of things said.
Pakistan has been also accused declining ‘access’ to Jadhav by consular officers of India. India sought consular access to Jadhav right from the time it was informed of the arrest of Jadhav, and repeatedly reiterated this request to Pakistan. The Article 36 of the Vienna Convention casts an unconditional obligation upon Pakistan to grant consular access to Jadhav.
The Government of India has also maintained that Pakistan’s request for legal assistance is a propaganda document. It is Pakistan which has failed to agree to a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) with India or to ratify MLAT under SAARC. The reason why Pakistan has avoided signing an MLAT is because of its ceaseless support to cross border terrorism, the source said.
Final Oral Hearings in the ICJ was held between February 18 and 21.