Responding to India’s arguments at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), Pakistani counsel Khawar Qureshi insisted that former Naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav was on a mission of espionage in Pakistan. To back his claims, the Pakistani side produced excerpts from some articles allegedly authored by Indian journalists, Karan Thapar and Praveen Swami. Pakistan’s representative lawyer Khawar Qureshi said: “India is living in a wonderland. It is sitting on a weak wall of lies just like Humpty Dumpty and on one day will have a great fall.”
The Pakistani quoted an article allegedly written by Karan Thapar in The Indian Express in 2017, where, Pakisan said Thapar questioned the stand of Indian government on Jadhav. Pakistan also quoted another article allegedly written by Praveen Swami in Frontline magazine in January 2018, in which Pakistan said Swami had claimed that Jadhav was indeed on an espionage mission in Pakistan.
In its arguments, Pakistan also cited a speech of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to say that he has been on record to have suggested using water as a weapon against Pakistan.
Questioning India’s motives, Qureshi asked “How can India demand consular access when it did not confirm Jadhav’s nationality? India has also failed in putting up justifiable arguments on his retirement date.”
Pakistan also said that Jadhav was given responsibility to spread destruction in Pakistan by Ajit Doval, India’s National Security Advisor. Referring to an interview, Qureshi said, “Doval confessed to Indian-sponsored terrorism in Balochistan during his interview.”
“According to Doval, Jadhav played a key role in terrorism in Balochistan,” he added.
Yesterday India had accused Pakistan of misusing the Kulbhushan Jadhav case and the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for propaganda. India said that Pakistan has no substantive defence and is indulging in malicious acts, during a hearing in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case in ICJ.
“Pakistan has violated Vienna convention and Jadhav’s custody in Pakistan should be declared unlawful,” eminent lawyer Harish Salve argued during a four-day public hearing in the case of Kulbhushan Jadhav death sentence by a Pakistani military court on charges of espionage.
Salve pointed out to the court that not only Jadhav has been denied consular access but no credible evidence has been provided by Pakistan to show his involvement in any act of terrorism.
“Pakistan’s story is solely based on rhetoric and not facts,” he said.
India had moved the ICJ in May in 2017 against the “farcical trial” by the military court of Pakistan against 48-year-old Jadhav.
Jadhav, a retired Indian Navy officer, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of espionage and terrorism in April 2017.
India first approached the ICJ on May 8, 2017 for the “egregious violation” of the provisions of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, 1963 by Pakistan by repeatedly denying it consular access to Jadhav.
The ICJ has set a timetable for the public hearing in the high-profile case from February 18 to 21 at the Peace Palace in The Hague, the Netherlands.
While India argued on Monday and Pakistan responded to India’s arguments on Tuesday. India will reply on February 20 while Islamabad will make its closing submissions on February 21.
It is expected that the ICJ’s decision may be delivered by the summer of 2019.
Both India and Pakistan have already submitted their detailed pleas and responses in the world court.
Pakistan claims that its security forces arrested Jadhav from restive Balochistan province on March 3, 2016 after he reportedly entered from Iran.
However, India maintains that Jadhav was kidnapped from Iran where he had business interests after retiring from the Navy. Jadhav’s sentencing had evoked a sharp reaction in India.
Pakistan had rejected India’s plea for consular access to Jadhav at the ICJ, claiming that New Delhi wants the access to get the information gathered by its “spy”.
However, Pakistan facilitated a meeting of Jadhav with his mother and wife in Islamabad on December 25, 2017.
(Inputs from PTI)