Fresh out of its victory at the World Court that ordered Pakistan to review the death penalty to Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav, the Foreign Ministry on Thursday delivered a biting response to attempts by Islamabad to give the ICJ verdict a spin and project it as a win for Pakistan.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar told reporters that it appeared that Pakistan leaders were reading from a different verdict. Because the one that the International Court of Justice had delivered in The Hague last evening ruled in favour of India on all eight counts.
“Frankly, it seems to me they’re reading from a completely different verdict. The main verdict is in 42 pages. If there is no patience to go through 42 pages, they should go through 7-pages Press Release, where each and every point is ruled in India’s favour,” Kumar told reporters in response to a question on statements emerging from Islamabad.
Reacting for the first time to the verdict, Khan tweeted: “Appreciate ICJ’s decision not to acquit, release and return Commander Kulbhushan Jadhav to India. He is guilty of crimes against the people of Pakistan. Pakistan shall proceed further as per law.”
Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had described the ICJ verdict as a “victory for Pakistan”.
“Jadhav shall remain in Pakistan. He shall be treated in accordance with the laws of Pakistan,”Qureshi had said in his first response. Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan echoed a similar celebratory sentiment in his mildly-worded tweet.
“Appreciate ICJ’s decision not to acquit, release & return Commander Kulbhushan Jadhav to India. He is guilty of crimes against the people of Pakistan. Pakistan shall proceed further as per law,” tweeted Imran Khan.
A 16-member bench headed by President of the Court, Judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf, by 15-1 votes concluded that Pakistan had violated provisions of the Vienna convention that required Pakistan to inform Kulbhushan Jadhav of his rights, inform New Delhi about his detention and allowing Indian officials to visit Jadhav in detention and arrange for his legal representation.
The judges asked Pakistan to make up for these violations by keeping execution of the sentence on hold and immediately carry out an effective “review and reconsideration” of his conviction.
Raveesh Kumar told reporters that there really wasn’t any scope for confusion on the clear-cut findings of the ICJ bench.
“I think they have their own compulsions, as to why they have to lie to their own people,” Kumar said.
India has demanded that Pakistan release 49-year-old Jadhav who was sentenced to death by a Pakistan military court on charges of espionage.
Jadhav was arrested by Pakistani security agencies in Balochistan on March 3, 2016, and charged with involvement in spying and subversive activities. In April 2017, Pakistan announced that Jadhav had been given the death sentence by a military court.
Briefing parliament about the ICJ’s decision, Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said Jadhav had been in the illegal custody of Pakistan under fabricated charges.
“Yesterday’s judgement is not only a vindication of India and Mr Jadhav but for all those who believe in the rule of law and the sanctity of international conventions,” the minister added.
“We once again call upon Pakistan to release and repatriate him forthwith,” Jaishankar said, underlining that Jadhav was innocent of the charges levelled against him.