Kulbhushan Jadhav case at ICJ: Pakistan media dubs Hague-based court's verdict a ‘setback’

Dismayed by the decision of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Thursday to stall Kulbhushan Jadhav’s death sentence, Pakistan’s media and Opposition parties lashed out at the ‘poor handling’ of the case by Pakistan’s foreign office’s officials.

Demanding a revamp of the legal office of Pakistan’s foreign office, Pakistan analysts observed that its officials failed to give proper advice to deal with the case, reported The Express Tribune.

A senior official revealed to the news daily that India has been successful in managing the ICJ’s registrar office, which has vast power to fix cases before the court. “We were very surprised how swiftly Jadhav’s case was fixed before the ICJ,” he said.

 Kulbhushan Jadhav case at ICJ: Pakistan media dubs Hague-based courts verdict a ‘setback’

In a unanimous decision, the 11-judge bench stayed the execution of Jadhav by Pakistani military court until further notice. PTI

Terming the verdict a “setback”, Pakistani media outlets questioned the need of Pakistan of going to the ICJ at the first place.

"It's Pakistan’s mistake to have appeared there. They shouldn't have attended. They have shot themselves in the foot,” said a retired judge to Dawn.

Echoing the sentiment, Shireen Mazari, a prominent Pakistani politician tweeted:

Senior PPP leader Sherry Rehman said, "We based our case on jurisdiction and it proved weak. More arguments should have been made regarding espionage."

In a unanimous decision, the 11-judge bench stayed the execution of Jadhav by Pakistani military court until further notice. The bench also observed that prima facie the Vienna Convention will also apply in the case.

Pakistani analysts who were earlier confident that the ICJ does not have jurisdiction to stay Jadhav’s execution, observed after the verdict that the jurisdiction argument was “weak” and “damaging”, reported Dawn.

Some Pakistan news outlets even criticised Khawar Qureshi, who is fighting for Pakistan at ICJ, for his inability to counter Harish Salve’s argument regarding the 2008 bilateral agreement between India and Pakistan on consular access.

According to a report published in The Express Tribune, the agreement says both the states will not give consular access to terrorists. However, Salve, counsel for India, successfully contended that the agreement was not registered with the United Nations.

Quoting an official, The Express Tribune wrote, “Here, Qureshi could have referred to three cases in which the ICJ had admitted unregistered bilateral agreements,” said the official. “Similarly, he could have submitted written arguments before the ICJ to assure the UN’s court that Pakistan would not hang Jadhav till its final decision.”

“In view of this assurance, the ICJ’s order on halting the execution could have been avoided,” the official added.

Amidst the mounting criticism, Pakistan government however came out with a bold face and played down the directives issued by the United Nations’ judicial arm.

The Express Tribune reported quoting Prime Minister’s Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz that the ICJ’s provisional order will not have any bearing on the trial and legal process that was currently underway in Pakistan against Jadhav.

“A stay is granted automatically even in our courts when you file an appeal. But it doesn’t mean that you have lost the case,” Aziz said on Thursday. He insisted that the ICJ had yet to adjudicate on the question of jurisdiction as well as merits of the case. “When that stage comes, Pakistan will forcefully present its case.”

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Updated Date: May 19, 2017 14:11:05 IST