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Jadhav case: On Day 2, Pakistan accuses India of acting in bad faith

Vidya Ram London | Updated on February 19, 2019

Pakistan sought the appointment of an ad hoc judge for the case

Former Indian navy officer Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav is seen on a screen during a news conference at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Islamabad, Pakistan December 25, 2017. (file photo)   -  REUTERS

India’s application to have the International Court of Justice (ICJ) order Kulbhushan Jadhav’s release should be dismissed as inadmissible, Pakistan’s counsel argued at the ICJ in The Hague. In a heated, and often personal presentation that repeatedly referenced Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the counsel accused India of engaging in “political theatre,” “grandstanding,” and presenting its case in “bad faith.”

In presentations that contrasted with the more muted tone of India’s opening oral arguments the day before, Qureshi and Pakistani’s Attorney General Anwar Mansoor Khan accused India of failing to answer fundamental questions and of “causing terrorism and training terrorists to act in Pakistan” and wanting to “destroy” the country. Pakistan had suffered more than 74,000 terrorism-related casualties and fatalities that had been caused “mainly by the interference” of India, said Khan in his opening remarks. He then accused India of having “detained and tortured” him as a prisoner of war 20 years before. “I have been a victim of Indian brutalities,” he told the court after he had been told to proceed with setting out Pakistan’s case, despite their putting forward a request for an adjournment after former Chief Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani was taken ill on Monday, and has not been able to return to the court.

Pakistan had invoked the right to appoint an ad hoc judge, because one of the ICJ judges is Indian, and because of Jillani’s absence.

Khan on Tuesday called for the court to allow for another individual to be sworn in to replace Jillani and for them to be given “sufficient time” to review the case. “This is a matter of great concern for Pakistan,” he said. “The court will provide its response to your questions in due time,” ICJ President Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf told Pakistan during the proceedings.

‘Farcical trial’

The three-hour-long hearing — during which Qureshi was asked to slow down the pace of his presentation several times by the President — followed India’s opening arguments by Harish Salve, India’s counsel, and joint secretary Deepak Mittal on Monday, who accused Pakistan of “knowingly, wilfully and brazenly” flouting the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations and subjecting Jadhav to a “farcical” military trial.

While the arguments set out on Monday and Tuesday covered ground set out in the two nations’ memorial and counter-memorials on the case, Wednesday and Thursday will take proceedings into new territory. Closing Tuesday’s session, President Yusuf advised the two sides that what they set out should not be a “repetition of the arguments,” already put forward to the court.

Qureshi contended that India had failed to answer “serious and relevant questions,” in particular pertaining to the use of an “authentic Indian passport with a Muslim ‘cover name,’” by Jadhav, which had been verified as genuine by a former UK Chief Immigration Officer. “At no point in time – despite repeated reminders – has India furnished any evidence of the Indian nationality of Commander Jadhav,” he said, adding that India had also failed to back up its contentions that Jadhav was a retired officer simply with business interests in Iran.

Building up his contention that India was engaged in activity to create instability in Balochistan, he referenced the Prime Minister’s Security Advisor, Ajit Doyal’s remarks in 2014 about Pakistan’s “vulnerability,” and risk of losing Balochistan, as well as several pieces published by Indian media sources, including a 2018 Frontline magazine piece on Jadhav and India’s “expanding” programme of covert action.

Espionage accusations

In response to India’s accusation that Pakistan had denied Jadhav consular access, Qureshi questioned the applicability of these requirements to cases where national security was at issue and where individuals were accused of espionage.

Customary International Law and State practice provided no clear support that Article 36 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Access was applicable in a prima facie case of espionage, he argued.

He described India’s efforts to get an acquittal as “outlandish,” insisting that the military court trial had been subject to stringent safeguards, and that genuine opportunities were available to Jadhav to challenge his conviction.

 

Published on February 19, 2019

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