India scores diplomatic coup as ICJ stays Kulbhushan Jadhav's execution; order binding on Pakistan, says MEA
International Court of Justice on Thursday stayed the execution of Kulbhushan Jadhav.
The Hague: India scored a major diplomatic victory over Pakistan on Thursday as the International Court of Justice (ICJ) stayed the execution of former Indian Navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav.
In an unanimous and binding decision, the UN's top court said the status quo should be maintained pending final decision to be taken in the case that has brought ties between the two rival neighbours to a new low.
"Pakistan shall take all measures at its disposal to ensure that Jadhav is not executed pending the final decision in these proceedings and shall inform the court of all the measures taken in implementation of the present order," ICJ President Ronny Abraham said, reading out the order in the open court.
"The court also decides that until it has given its final decision, it shall remain seized of the matters which form the subject matter of this order," said the court which consists of 10 judges, including Justice Dalveer Bhandari of India, besides President Abraham.
The 15-member bench backed India's contention that there had been a violation of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations as New Delhi's requests for consular access to its national had been denied 16 times.
The court, which had earlier provisionally stayed Jadhav's sentence on May 9, also noted that India and Pakistan were signatories to the Vienna Convention since 1977.
Jadhav would get a reprieve of at least 150 days
India welcomed the court's unanimous decision on Jadhav, 46, while Islamabad said it had informed the ICJ that it did not accept the court's jurisdiction in matters related to national security.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his satisfaction with the verdict and spoke to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj who described the order as a "great relief", as per PTI.
The verdict came three days after the two countries gave their submissions during which India demanded the annulment of the sentence and described Pakistan's trial to convict Jadhav as "farcical".
Pakistan, in turn, argued that Jadhav was a spy and India's plea was "misconceived".
Pakistan's Foreign Office spokesman Nafees Zakaria also hit out at India today, saying it was "trying to hide its real face" by taking the case to the ICJ.
"We do not accept the jurisdiction of the ICJ in matters related to the national security of the country," he was quoted as saying by a television channel.
However, Pakistan Attorney General Ashtar Ausaf Ali's office in a statement indicated it would abide by the court's ruling while saying the interim order had "no bearing, whatsoever, on the final decision" related to the case.
"The ICJ has stated that by way of provisional measures, the status quo be maintained in the case of Jadhav. The court has clearly underscored that the provisional measures are without prejudice to the final determination of the merits and jurisdiction of the case," he said, as per IANS.
The statement said Pakistan would take the case to the "logical end" and that India had no substance in the case.
India moved the ICJ against the death penalty on May 8. The next day, the global court stayed the sentence as a provisional measure.
Pakistan, which announced the sentence on Jadhav on April 10, claims its security forces arrested him from its restive Balochistan province on March 3 last year after he reportedly entered from Iran. However, India maintains that he was kidnapped from Iran where he had business interests after retiring from the Navy.
The two countries last faced off at the ICJ 18 years ago when Islamabad sought its intervention over the shooting down of its naval aircraft.
(With Agency inputs)