Kulbhushan Jadhav verdict: Defiant Sartaj Aziz says ICJ ruling cannot override Pakistan's domestic law

Adopting a defiant stance after the unfavourable verdict at the International Court of Justice over the Kulbhushan Jadhav spy case, Pakistan's foreign affairs advisor Sartaj Aziz said on Saturday that the ICJ ruling cannot override the domestic law, a stance which may re-ignite Islamabad's argument over the top court's jurisdiction in the case.

The report quoted him as saying, "They cannot override a country's laws allowing the death penalty. If according to our laws, someone gets the death penalty, they can't nullify it."

According to The Times of India, Aziz is being made to backtrack from his earlier statement that there is little evidence against alleged Indian spy Jadhav as the heat is on the civilian government led by Nawaz Sharif.

The report noted that the Pakistani establishment's current posturing is also a result of the inflamed anti-India sentiment in the country and the political pressure over Sharif.

 Kulbhushan Jadhav verdict: Defiant Sartaj Aziz says ICJ ruling cannot override Pakistans domestic law

Pakistan foreign affairs advisor Sartaj Aziz. Reuters

On Saturday, Aziz had said that Pakistan did not lose at the ICJ. "(It is) wrong to say Pakistan lost at the ICJ, court stayed execution, didn't order on consular access to Jadhav," Aziz had told reporters in Islamabad.

He had asserted that the ICJ cannot nullify Indian spy Jadhav’s death sentence. “Jadhav had confessed to carrying out terrorist activities inside Pakistan and was a naval officer using a fake passport. He was sentenced according to the country’s law,” Aziz added as reported by The Express Tribune. "He has also admitted to carrying out espionage activities in Pakistan," PTI reported Aziz as stating.

Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, Aziz had said that when it comes to cases involving the death penalty, the international court has always given a stay order.

While, the establishment in Pakistan is refusing to call the verdict a setback, the country's media, experts as well as the Opposition  is signing a different tone all together.

Pakistan’s media and Opposition parties had lashed out at the ‘poor handling’ of the case by Pakistan’s foreign office’s officials.

The Pakistan Foreign Office was criticised for its "poor handling" of the case and for its choice of Britain-based Khawar Qureshi as counsel.

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 had revealed to the news daily that India had 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.

Terming the verdict a “setback”, Pakistani media outlets had 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,” a retired judge had told Dawn.

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

Pakistan, which announced the sentence on Jadhav on 10 April, claims its security forces arrested him from its restive Balochistan province on 3 March last year after he reportedly entered from Iran. However, India maintains that he was kidnapped from Iran where he had business interests after retiring from the Navy.

In the judgment released by the ICJ at The Hague on Thursday, the tribunal asked Pakistan to take all "necessary measures at its disposal" to ensure that Jadhav was not executed pending a final decision by it.

With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: May 21, 2017 09:22:50 IST