Islamabad: A Pakistani court on Thursday directed the government to give India another chance to appoint a lawyer to represent Kulbhushan Jadhav, a former naval officer sentenced to death for alleged involvement in spying, and adjourned the case for a month.
The Islamabad high court, after hearing arguments in the matter, asked attorney general Khalid Javed Khan to inform the government to send the court’s order to India and put off further hearings till October 3.
The direction came after the attorney general informed the larger bench of the high court, comprising chief justice Athar Minallah and justices Aamer Farooq and Miangul Hassan Aurangzaib, that the Pakistan government hadn’t received a reply from New Delhi on the matter till date.
Khan said it appeared the Indian government was not interested in availing the opportunity of legal representation and its “focus is on embarrassing Pakistan”.
He said that despite the passage of a month from the time that the Islamabad high court directed the government to offer a chance of legal representation to New Delhi, no reply was received from the Indian side.
Khan also said Pakistan is continuing the process of implementing the Internation Court of Justice’s (ICJ) judgment but “India is busy obstructing the right to review.”
The ICJ asked Pakistan to stay Jadhav’s death sentence and carry out a comprehensive review of his conviction and sentencing by a military court.
On August 3, a special bench headed by chief Justice Minallah had directed the registrar’s office to form the larger bench. The court also directed the government to make another offer to India and Jadhav through the Foreign Office to hire a lawyer.
On August 6, the Islamabad high court formed a three-judge bench at the government’s request to hear the matter of allowing Jadhav to appeal against the death sentence.
In its order, the court said that it was refraining from appointing a lawyer for Jadhav. It added the government of Pakistan should inform Jadhav about his rights under Article 36 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.
The court further observed Jadhav should be informed of the ICJ’s decision, adding he should also be made aware of his rights under an ordinance issued by the Pakistan government to the ICJ’s verdict.
Pakistan has alleged Jadhav was arrested on March 3, 2016 in Balochistan on charges of espionage. He was subsequently sentenced to death following a secret trial by a military court the following year.
India has dismissed these charges and said Jadhav was kidnapped by Pakistani operatives from the Iranian port of Chabahar, where he was running a business.