A Pakistani court was on Tuesday informed that India has failed to appoint a lawyer to represent death-row prisoner Kulbhushan Jadhav in the case of the review of his death sentence by a military court in this country.
This comes after Pakistan on Thursday once again rejected India’s demand that an Indian lawyer or a Queen’s counsel should be appointed for Jadhav to ensure a free and fair trial in the case. Fifty-year-old retired Indian Navy officer Jadhav was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of espionage and terrorism in April 2017.
The Islamabad High Court (IHC) had last month set a new deadline for India to appoint a legal representative for Jadhav.
The three-member bench headed by IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah, while hearing the law ministry’s request on Tuesday to provide a counsel to Jadhav was informed that India had failed to appoint a lawyer by October 6 as was instructed by the court despite it being conveyed for the second time to do so.
Justice Minallah then asked the Attorney General of Pakistan (AGP) Khalid Javed Khan to help determine if the court can appoint a legal representative for Jadhav without India’s approval and what consequences such a move would have.
He also asked the AGP if the appointment of a lawyer by the court would provide a satisfactory mechanism for an effective implementation of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) judgment in the case. Later, the court adjourned the hearing in the case till November 9.
In 2017, India approached the ICJ against Pakistan for denial of consular access to Jadhav and challenging the death sentence handed to him by a military court.
The Hague-based ICJ ruled in July 2019 that Pakistan must undertake an “effective review and reconsideration” of the conviction and sentence of Jadhav and also to grant consular access to India without further delay.
India has slammed Pakistan for adopting a “farcical” approach in denying available legal remedies to Jadhav against his death sentence in contravention of the ICJ order.
India’s Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava last month said the government of Pakistan has not been able to fulfil its obligations on implementation of the ICJ judgment in letter and spirit.
“It has not yet addressed the core issues, which include provision of all documents related to the case, providing unconditional and unimpeded consular access to Kulbhusan Jadhav and appointment of an Indian lawyer or a Queen’s counsel to ensure a free and fair trial,” he said.
Meanwhile, two eminent lawyers nominated as amicus curiae excused themselves to help the court in the case. Abid Hassan Manto said he was ill, while Makhdoom Ali Khan excused himself from appearing on professional grounds.
But the two lawyers submitted a reply to the court saying that it was a matter of honour for them to be appointed as judicial assistants.