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Kulbhushan Jadhav case: Media has left him twisting in the wind, exchange with Pakistan is only option

While India was bemoaning its cricketing loss to Sri Lanka, the 8 June meeting between the judicial agents of India and Pakistan at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) passed with nary a whimper.

 Kulbhushan Jadhav case: Media has left him twisting in the wind, exchange with Pakistan is only option

File photo of Kulbhushan Jadhav . PTI

The court, by promising to look into Pakistan's statements on jurisdiction and the intrinsic merits of its demand — that not only should the hearings be expedited but dismissed — allowed it to get a foot in the door.

With the ICJ’s 8 May recommendations to allow consular access to Jadhav clearly going unheeded by Pakistan, India is in no better a position to free him. On the contrary, the Jadhav case seems to have run its course in the media and no longer grips public attention, a fact, which in itself, is terrifying.

Other developments have superseded this matter. We aren't even protesting the cavalier fashion in which Pakistan has simply ignored the ICJ’s initial assessment where all six points were in favour of India.

Our media, which for several days turned that ‘victory’ into vindication, seems to think this is enough. They think there's nothing else we can do. Meanwhile, Jadhav's lot hasn’t improved. Not one bit.

At the outset, the most important element in Pakistan's strategy is to ensure that we do not demand that the case be fast-tracked: Which goes in their favour. Remember, Jadhav's execution is set for August.

Pakistan’s ploy seems to be to offer three of its judges as ad hoc participants on the 12-member ICJ panel and to convince them that the case is outside the ICJ's purview.

The reason Pakistan doesn't want to get bogged down in procedural matters is that once the agenda is set, it will be years before a final hearing and verdict. Well beyond the August deadline. Pakistan’s aim is obvious — to have Jadhav plead for clemency and then a presidential pardon — which it may or may not grant.

But first it wants clarity on the ICJ's jurisdiction. Perhaps so that it can engage in theatrics and even possibly sidestep the court and refuse to accept the intervention of a third party.

The problem remains: No sanctions have been imposed on Pakistan. Soon, the world will be faced with new problems and Jadhav's case will be reduced to a sideshow. And considering the lack of coverage for the 8 June meeting, one can say that it practically already is a sideshow.

Surely, New Delhi knows that the only option is an exchange. That we could give Pakistan something for Jadhav's life. Something that would allow Islamabad to leave the global stage without egg on its face.

And as for the subject of hope, I hope that those who have placed Jadhav on the back-burner, taken their bows on 8 May and patted themselves on the back for a job well done, rid themselves of this thinking.

We have not earned the moral right to move on and let Jadhav twist in the wind.

We have not.


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Updated Date: Jun 10, 2017 15:48:46 IST

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