Kulbhushan Jadhav, a former naval officer given the death sentence in Pakistan for alleged involvement in spying, should be represented by an Indian lawyer for filing a review petition to ensure a “free and fair trial”.
The issue of filing a review petition in the Islamabad high court to challenge the death sentence given to Jadhav by a military court has run into trouble because of differences between the two countries on legal formalities. Islamabad has said only Pakistani lawyers and those entitled to practice in the country can be appointed to represent Jadhav.
Asked about the issue during the weekly news briefing on Thursday, external affairs ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said India is in touch with Pakistan through diplomatic channels on this issue.
“For a free and fair trial in keeping with the letter and spirit of the ICJ [International Court of Justice] judgement, we have asked for Jadhav to be represented by an Indian lawyer,” he said.
“However, Pakistan has to first address the core issues – giving copies of relevant documents of the case and providing unimpeded consular access to Jadhav,” he added.
Earlier this month, the Islamabad high court directed the Pakistan government to inform India to appoint a lawyer for Jadhav, 50, so that he could file a review petition against his conviction. The court also directed the Pakistan government to again inform Jadhav of his rights under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations and the ICJ’s order of 2019 staying his execution and calling for a review of his conviction.
A larger bench of the Islamabad high court is set to hear Jadhav’s case again on September 3.
India has accused Pakistan of coercing Jadhav not to file a review petition and of not complying with the ICJ’s verdict.
Jadhav was arrested by Pakistani security agencies in Balochistan in March 2016 and charged with involvement in spying. India rejected these allegations and said he was kidnapped by Pakistani operatives from the Iranian port of Chabahar, where he was running a business.