India will find out tomorrow if it has won its case against Pakistan at the UN’s top court over the execution of Kulbhushan Jadhav, a former naval officer, who has been sentenced to death after being convicted of espionage by a Pakistani military court.
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) at the Hague, which heard arguments from both countries on Monday, will deliver its verdict at 3:30 pm tomorrow. India said that Pakistan has violated the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations by denying Jadhav, 47, access to legal and other assistance from India, and that Pakistan should be ordered to stop his execution.
Pakistan responded that the court should decline jurisdiction in the case. The case has sharply escalated tension between Delhi and Islamabad.
Pakistan says Jadhav was arrested in March 2016 in the restive province of Balochistan. There has been a long-running conflict in Balochistan between Pakistani security forces and a militant separatist movement.
According to Islamabad, Jadhav confessed to being tasked by India’s intelligence service, the Research and Analysis Wing or RAW, with planning, coordinating and organising espionage and sabotage activities in Balochistan “aiming to destabilise and wage war against Pakistan.” India has rejected all those charges. Its representative at UN court, Deepak Mittal, described the charges against Jadhav as “concocted” and his closed trial by an army court as “farcical.”
Pakistan has said that no date has been set for the execution and that the sentence remains open to appeal. Islamabad’s representative at the hearing, Mohammad Faisal, said India’s complaint was “political theatre” and the court “should not exercise any jurisdiction in the case”.
On Monday, ICJ saw both countries go hammer and tongs at each other, Pakistan raked up the alleged passport of former Indian naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav to argue that India had deliberately given him a passport with a “Muslim name (Hussein Mubarak Patel)” to facilitate covert and illegal terror operations in Balochistan, adding that the Vienna Convention provisions on consular access were not intended for a “spy” involved in terror activities.
New Delhi argued before the court earlier in the day that India had not even been given consular access to Jadhav by Pakistan despite repeated requests in violation of the Vienna Convention and that the Pakistani military court’s verdict sentencing him to death had “no credibility”.
Accusing New Delhi of using the ICJ as a stage for “political theatre” and claiming that Islamabad “will not respond in kind”, Pakistan maintained India was “wrong in invoking the jurisdiction of this court”, arguing that India’s application was “unnecessary and misconceived” and must be dismissed.
But New Delhi, in a strong plea earlier in the day, demanded the immediate suspension of the death sentence given to Jadhav by the Pakistani military court. After hearing both parties, the ICJ said it would announce its order in a public hearing, the date of which will be publicly communicated.