MEA calls Pakistan claims ‘farce’, says Kulbhusan Jadhav ‘coerced’ into refusing appeal

Srinagar: Ministry of External Affairs India on Thursday said that Pakistan’s claim that Indian national Kulbhushan Yadav – sentenced to death by its military court has refused review of his case and wants to appeal for mercy, is proof of its “reticence” to implement the order of the International Court of Justice in “letter and spirit”.

Calling Pakistan’s move a continuation of the four-year-long “farce”, India’s foreign ministry said the media statement “seeks to mask its continuing reticence”.

On Wednesday, Pakistan’s Additional Attorney General Ahmed Irfan claimed that while Islamabad, on June 17 2020, “invited” death row convict Kulbhushan Jadhav to file an appeal in Islamabad High Court for review and reconsideration of his sentence and conviction, Jadhav chose to not file any appeals.

He added that Jadhav instead, “preferred to follow-up” on his pending “mercy” petition, a Delhi based news organisation NDTV reported.

However, India has dismissed Irfan’s claims and called it a “continuation of farce that has been in play for the last four years”, newspaper Economic Times reported.

India also said that Jadhav had “clearly been coerced” into not appealing against his April 2017 conviction.

Addressing a special briefing arranged by the Pakistani Foreign Office in Islamabad, Irfan stated that in May an ordinance had been issued which allowed Mr Jadhav, his legal representative or a representative of the Indian High Commission in Islamabad to file a review petition in line with the ICJ verdict of July 2019.

The Pakistani legal officer also claimed that, in fact, Islamabad repeatedly reached out to the Indian High Commission to file a review petition on behalf of Mr Jadhav.

In response to Pakistan’s claims, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said, “Now, after almost a year, they have made a U-turn and issued an ordinance to ostensibly provide some sort of review.

The MEA statement added that while on one hand the ordinance “violates the ICJ judgment”, and on other it is a cheap tactics by Pakistan to “create an illusion of remedy” being offered.

In March 2016, Kulbhushan Jadhav, a former Naval officer, was arrested by Pakistan and accused of “espionage”, a charge India continues to deny. The following year, a Pakistani military court sentenced Jadhav to death, following which India approached the ICJ.

In July 2019, the ICJ order stated that Pakistan must review the death sentence of Kulbhushan Jadhav and stayed his execution. The court further ruled that Pakistan had violated Vienna conventions and had undermined India’s right to have consular access to its national.

According to a report by the Hindu, Jadhav has until July 20 to file an application against his conviction and sentence in the Islamabad High Court.


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