NEW DELHI: Pakistan on Wednesday filed a petition in the Islamabad High Court seeking the appointment of a lawyer for former Indian Navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav.
The petition, filed by Pakistan Law and Justice Ministry, sought the lawyer’s appointment to enable Jadhav to file a review petition against his death sentence, which was awarded to him by a military court following his arrest on charges of espionage.
However, the main parties, including the government of India, have not been consulted ahead of the filing of the application by the Ministry of Law and Justice under a federal ordinance.
The plea stated that Jadhav has refused to file a petition and it is in national interest that a legal representative is appointed on his behalf so that review and reconsideration proceedings can be initiated and also that Pakistan can comply with the International Court of Justice ruling.
Jadhav, the 50-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 approached the International Court of Justice against Pakistan for denial of consular access to Jadhav and challenging the death sentence.
Last year, following India moving the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the case, it had ruled that Pakistan grant India consular access to Jadhav, stayed his execution and also directed Pakistan to come up with a review mechanism.
Pakistan enacted an ordinance called the "International Court of Justice Review and Reconsideration Ordinance 2020" on May 20 under which a petition for the review of a military court's decision can be made to Islamabad High Court through an application within 60 days of its promulgation.
The Pakistan government has claimed that Jadhav refused to file a review petition or an application to reconsider the verdict.
Last week, India and Pakistan locked horns over the consular access granted to Jadhav.
India claimed that the meeting was not unconditional and was held in an intimidating atmosphere where Jadhav looked visibly stressed.
They accused Islamabad of not adhering to their promise.
Though the Pakistan foreign ministry had assured India that the consular access on Thursday would be unimpeded, unhindered and unconditional, it turned out that the arrangements of the meeting were not in accordance with the assurances made by Islamabad, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said.
The first consular access under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations 1963 was earlier provided by Pakistan on September 2 last year.
In the current petition, the Advocate General Branch (AG) of General Headquarters (GHQ) and the Ministry of Defence have been made parties.
(With PTI Inputs)