New Delhi now has until December 1
The Islamabad High Court gave on Monday New Delhi another chance to appoint a counsel for spy Kulbhushan Jadhav, who was sentenced to death for espionage.
Commander Jadhav, who worked for Indian spy agency Research & Analysis Wing, was arrested in Balochistan in March 2016. A year later, he was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court for espionage and involvement in other subversive activities in Pakistan.
India had approached the International Court of Justice against the death penalty. In July 2019, the ICJ ordered Pakistan to provide consular access to Jadhav and review his death sentence. In September 2019, New Delhi was provided consular access to Jadhav for the first time after his arrest. He also met his mother and wife in December 2017.
On July 16, Pakistan once again provided consular access to Jadhav on India’s request. On July 22, the Pakistani Ministry of Law and Justice filed a petition in the IHC for a lawyer to be appointed for Jadhav.
Under Pakistan’s ICJ (Review and Reconsideration) Ordinance, 2020, Jadhav only has a short period of time left to file a reconsideration appeal. So far, neither Jadhav nor the Indian government through its high commission in Islamabad have filed a petition.
The IHC resumed hearing the government’s petition on Monday. Highlighting contradictions in the Indian stance, Attorney General Khalid Javed Khan told the court that the Government of Pakistan is again offering consular access to Jadhav but New Delhi is not interested in his defence.
“For them, Kulbhushan is a disposable asset whom they [the Indian government] want to use to embarrass Pakistan,” Khan said. He said New Delhi is deliberately obstructing implementation of the ICJ’s ruling.
IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah inquired from Indian High Commission counsel Shahnawaz Noon why Jadhav was not being provided an attorney. But Noon sought time to submit a reply, saying that he would assist the court at the next hearing after receiving directives from the Indian High Commission.
Noon complained of not receiving documents relating to Jadhav. At this, the attorney general asked him to bring the power of attorney from the high commission to get them.
The court gave New Delhi until December 1 to appoint a counsel for the arrested spy and adjourned the hearing.