India on Wednesday slammed Pakistan's claim that Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav, who had been arrested on alleged espionage charges and languishing in its jail, refused to initiate review petition as "continuation of farce".
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) stated that Jadhav has been sentenced to execution through a farcical trial. He has clearly been coerced to refuse to file a review in his case, added the MEA.
The MEA stated, "Pakistan's claim that Jadhav, who is incarcerated in Pakistan's custody, has refused to initiate review petition is a continuation of the farce that has been in play for the last four years. Jadhav has been sentenced to execution through a farcical trial. He remains under custody of Pakistan's military. He has clearly been coerced to refuse to file a review in his case."
"We have been pursuing through diplomatic channels full and effective implementation of the ICJ judgment in the case of Kulbushan Jadhav. The media statement made by Pakistan today in the case seeks to mask its continuing reticence to implement ICJ judgment in letter and spirit," added the MEA statement.
"India sought unimpeded access to Jadhav to discuss his remedies under the Ordinance. In a brazen attempt to scuttle even the inadequate remedy under the Ordinance, Pakistan has obviously coerced Jadhav to forego his rights to seek implementation of the judgment of the ICJ," further said the statement.
Pakistan on May 20, 2020, passed an Ordinance to allow for the High Court to review the sentence awarded by their military court. They have all along maintained that their laws allowed for effective review and reconsideration while we have protested it all along, said MEA. "Now, after almost a year, they have made a U-turn and issued an Ordinance to ostensibly provide for some sort of review. We have already expressed our serious concerns at the content of the Ordinance and how it violates the ICJ judgment. Pakistan is only seeking to create an illusion of remedy," added MEA.
"Despite our repeated requests, Pakistan continues to deny India free and unimpeded access to Jadhav. India has repeatedly asked to allow a lawyer from outside Pakistan to appear for Jadhav in any review and reconsideration proceedings. Pakistan has denied it. Since 2017, when Military Court carried out a farcical trial, Pakistan has refused to hand over any relevant document, including FIR, evidence, court order, etc in the case to India," read the statement.
"Clearly, Pakistan is attempting to create a mirage of compliance with the ICJ judgment. ICJ has already held that Pakistan is in egregious violation of international law. The government will do its utmost to protect Jadhav and ensure his safe return to India. To that end, it would consider all appropriate options," added the statement.
Pakistan on Wednesday unilaterally claimed that Jadhav has refused to file a petition for review of his death sentence and conviction. He instead preferred to follow up on his pending mercy petition, the Pakistani media claimed, citing government sources. “On June 17, 2020, Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav was invited to file a petition for review and reconsideration of his sentence and conviction. Exercising his legal right, he refused to file a petition for review and reconsideration of his sentence and conviction,” Additional Attorney General claimed on Wednesday, according to the Pakistani media reports.
Pakistan has, meanwhile, offered consular access to Jadhav, a former Indian Navy officer, for a second time, the media reports added. Kulbhushan Jadhav, the 49-year-old retired Indian Navy officer, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of "espionage and terrorism" in April 2017.
India has categorically rejected Pakistan`s allegations about Jadhav`s involvement in spying and subversive activities and said he was kidnapped from the Iranian port of Chabahar where he was running a business. Jadhav was arrested on March 3, 2016, and sentenced to death on charges of espionage and terrorism in April 2017. In May 2017, India moved the ICJ against the “farcical trial” by Pakistan’s military court.
In July 2019, the ICJ, in its verdict, directed Pakistan to allow consular access and effectively review the death sentence. The court observed that Pakistan had breached international law by not granting consular access.
Earlier in May, Pakistan said that it has "fully complied" with the ICJ's verdict in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case, days after India's lead counsel Harish Salve asserted that New Delhi had hoped it might be able to persuade Islamabad through "back channel" to release the Indian death-row convict.