Hearing in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case continued for the third day at the International Court of Justice today. Yesterday, Pakistan’s counsel Khawar Qureshi presented the side of Pakistan, where Jadhav has been sentenced to death.
Advocate Harish Salve continued with India’s arguments today at the Hauge, Netherlands, based UN court. He began by lodging a protest over the choice of words by Qureshi yesterday, saying that Pakistan side used words like shameless, nonsensical, laughable, breath-taking, arrogance etc many times, and India takes exception to being insulted before the International Court.
Arguing that Pakistan’s case was weak, Harish Salve quoted an old lawyer saying, ‘when you are strong on law you hammer the law, when you are strong on facts you hammer the facts and when you are strong on neither you hammer the table’.
Questioning the process adopted by the military court in Pakistan which had heard the Jadhav case and sentenced him, Salve said that the ICJ doesn’t need experts to help it decide whether Military Courts in Pakistan are due process complaint.
Salve said that Pakistan has made three attempts to derail the proceedings at the ICJ, which have failed. Referring to Pakistan’s allegation that India was blocking cross-examination of Deputy High Commission JP Singh, he said that court had held that the issue was not relevant to the case. Salve noted that Pakistan has attempted to produce the video of Jadhav’s so-called confession before the hearings began, but the court had refused to consider the video on record.
Harish Salve said that unlike Pakistan, India never denies the nationality of its citizens in another country, referring to Pakistan regularly refusing to accept Pakistani terrorists killed or captured by Indian security forces. Taking a dig at Pakistan, he said that Indian nationals are not the kind whose nationality needs to be denied. Salve added that Pakistan is being used as a safe haven by terrorists and terror organisations like Hafiz Saeed, Al-Qaeda, JeM, Dawood Ibrahim etc.
Salve said that there was no doubt that Kulbhushan Jadhav is an Indian national, and as per laws, if a foreign person is detained by a country, consular access must be granted as per article 36 of the Vienna Convention.
Salve informed the court that India has repeatedly asked for a copy of the judgment convicting Jadhav, and the charges against him. There would be no threat to the security of Pakistan if they share these documents, but still Pakistan refused to share the documents.
Harish Salve referred to use of articles published by Indian media by Pakistan, saying that those articles actually contradict the facts in Pakistan’s FIR.
Salve also questioned the ambit of judicial review of Pakistani courts, saying that often they do not interfere with decisions of military courts. He also said that the International Commission of Jurists and European Parliament have criticised the functioning of Pakistan’s Military Courts. In contrast, the Supreme Court of India had reviewed the case of Ajmal Kasab, they examined all the records as it was a case of death sentence, Salve informed the international court.
Advocate Harish Salve alleged that Jadhav has become a pawn in Pakistan’s tool to divert international scrutiny from itself. He was referring to rising international pressure on Pakistan to take action on terror groups operating from the country after the Pulwama terror attack.
Harish Salve concluded his arguments by saying that the time has come for the Court to make Article 36 a potent weapon for protection of human rights.
After Salve’s arguments, Deepak Mittal, Joint Secretary of Ministry of External Affairs, read out relief sought by India in front of the ICJ. He requested the court to adjudge and declare that Pakistan acted in egregious breach of Article 36 of Vienna convention.