Kulbhushan Jadhav case: Pakistan's story has been blurry on facts, says Harish Salve at ICJ

India says Pakistan is using the issue of Kulbhushan Jadhav as a propaganda tool without even following the due proper procedure. Jadhav's custody should be declared unlawful as it was an egregious violation of the Vienna Convention.

By BusinessToday.In  
Monday, February 18, 2019

During a hearing at the International Court of Justice in the Hague on Monday, India said Pakistan's continued custody of Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav without any consular access should be declared "unlawful" as it was an egregious violation of the Vienna Convention. Senior lawyer Harish Salve, who is representing India and Kulbhushan Jadhav in the ICJ, said Pakistan was using the issue of Kulbhushan Jadhav as a "propaganda tool" without even following the due proper procedure.

"If article 36 grants rights of consular access in all cases including where allegations of such kind are levelled, then demanding those can't be an abuse of those rights," ANI quoted Salve as saying.

Reiterating India's stand, Salve said India had the sought counsellor access from Pakistan on several occasions. "Pakistan should have provided a substantial explanation for why it needed 3 months for providing consular access, upon which it could've claimed that it has complied with treaty obligation. Even on erroneous premise that para 4 applies, Pakistan hasn't complied treaty obligations," Salve told the court, ANI reported.

Salve said India had reminded Pakistan on the counsel access to Jadhav at least 13 times but to no avail. "On June 19, 2017, India responded to the request for assistance in investigation and pointed that not only Jadhav had been denied consular access but no credible evidence have been provided by Pakistan to show his involvement in any act of terrorism. And his (Jadhav's) purported confession clearly appears to be coaxed. India reminded Pakistan that it's Pakistan government which hasn't ratified Shark convention on legal assistance in criminal matters," he said, reported ANI.

   Harish Salve in ICJ: On 19th June, 2017, India responded to the request for assistance in investigation & pointed that not only Jadhav had been denied consular access but no credible evidence have been provided by Pakistan to show his involvement in any act of terrorism. 1/2 pic.twitter.com/4jrzNpjjot

Raising the issue of terrorism, senior lawyer said that Pakistan uses terrorism as an instrument of state policy. "Pakistan's conduct doesn't inspire confidence that Jadhav can get justice there. Pakistan has in custody an Indian National who has been publicly portrayed to be a terrorist and Indian agent creating unrest in Balochistan...Pak used Jadhav to build a narrative against India," Salve told court.

Media report suggested that Deepak Mittal, Joint Secretary, MEA, didn't shake hands with Pakistan's AG Anwar Mansoor Khan while they were exchanging greetings ahead of the oral arguments at the ICJ.The tension has soared between India and Pakistan after the February 14 Pulwama terror attack by Islamic extremists that left 40 CRPF personnel dead.

Kulbhushan Jadhav, 48, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on the charges of espionage and terrorism in April 2017. He was later allowed to meet his mother and wife after a long and arduous 22-month wait on December 25, 2017.

Meanwhile, hearing proceedings has been adjourned in the International Court of Justice for the day. The English Queen's Counsel Khawar Qureshi will make its first round of arguments for Pakistan on Tuesday.

The ICJ had on May 9, 2018, stayed the death sentence to Kulbhushan Jadhav after India had moved a petition before the UN body to seek justice for him, alleging violation of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations by Pakistan. Pakistan had stated that the ICJ had no jurisdiction on the matter since it was a case that deals with espionage. India has always maintained that Kulbhushan Jadhav is not a spy, and that Pakistan should provide counsellor access to him as his case pertains to abduction from the Iranian territory.

Edited by Manoj Sharma

Also read: Harish Salve charged Re 1 for fighting Jadhav's case: Sushma Swaraj

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