Pakistan may amend law to let Kulbhushan Jadhav appeal death sentence in civilian court

Jadhav, a former Indian Navy officer accused of spying, was tried and convicted by a Pakistani military court in 2017 and sentenced to death.

Published: 13th November 2019 02:17 PM  |   Last Updated: 14th November 2019 08:07 AM   |  A+A-

Kulbhushan Jadhav

Kulbhushan Jadhav (File Photo | YouTube screen grab)

By Express News Service

NEW DELHI: The Pakistan government may amend the Army Act to allow Kulbhushan Jadhav to appeal against his conviction in a civilian court.

The spokesperson for Pakistan Armed Forces Major General Asif Ghafoor, however, termed as "speculation" the reports that the government was planning to amend the Army Act to allow Jadhav the right to file an appeal against his conviction in a civilian court.

The amended law will outline the procedure to seek redress in the civil courts against sentence by Army courts, the report said.

Ghafoor said the reports of the amendment in the Pak Army Act to implement ICJ verdict regarding Jadhav are "incorrect."

"Various legal options for review and reconsideration of the case are being considered. Final status shall be shared in due course of time," he said.

Jadhav, an Indian national accused of spying, was tried and convicted by a Pakistani military court in 2017 and sentenced to death. Islamabad claimed that Jadhav was arrested from Balochistan in March 2017.

India has rejected the charges, terming them baseless, and maintained that Jadhav, a former Navy officer, was on a business trip to Iran when he was kidnapped by Pakistani security forces.

Pakistan claims that its security forces arrested Jadhav from restive Balochistan province on March 3, 2016 after he reportedly entered from Iran.

The matter was dragged to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which ruled that Pakistan had violated the terms of the Vienna Convention by denying Jadhav consular access and directed Pakistani authorities to give Jadhav remedies, including consular access.

India had argued that consular access was being denied to its national in violation of the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.

Rejecting Pakistan's objection to the admissibility of the Indian application in the case, the ICJ in its 42-page order held that "a continued stay of execution constitutes an indispensable condition for the effective review" of the sentence of Jadhav that had strained relations between the two neighbouring countries.

The bench, however, rejected some remedies sought by India, including annulment of the military court's decision convicting Jadhav, his release and safe passage to India.

According to the ICJ, Pakistan ‘deprived India of the right to communicate with and have access to Kulbhushan Jadhav, to visit him in detention and to arrange for his legal representation’.

On September 2, a top Indian diplomat got to meet him but came away with the distinct impression that he was under severe stress to tow the captor’s line.

Charge d’Affaires of the Indian High Commission in Islamabad Gaurav Ahluwalia spent two hours with Jadhav

.External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said, “While we await a comprehensive report, it was clear that Jadhav appeared to be under extreme pressure to parrot a false narrative to bolster Pakistan’s untenable claims.”

A statement issued by the Pakistani foreign office said, “Consular access was provided at 1200 hours and lasted for two (02) hours, in the presence of officials of the Government of Pakistan... On Indian request, there was no restriction on the language of communication. In order to ensure transparency and in line with standard operating procedures, and as conveyed to the Indian side in advance, the access was recorded.”

Before meeting Jadhav, Ahluwalia met Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson Mohammad Faisal.

(With PTI Inputs)

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