Delegations of India, left, and Pakistan, right, at the World Court in The Hague, Netherlands, where the case involving Kulbhushan  Jadhav is being heard. Pic/AP
Delegations of India, left, and Pakistan, right, at the World Court in The Hague, Netherlands, where the case involving Kulbhushan Jadhav is being heard. Pic/AP

India and Pakistan yesterday crossed swords at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) over Kulbhushan Jadhav's case with New Delhi demanding the immediate suspension of his death sentence and Islamabad accusing it of using the world body as a stage for "political theatre" through a "misconceived" plea.

India accused Pakistan of violating the Vienna Convention and conducting a "farcical trial" for convicting Jadhav without a "shred of evidence".

After hearing the arguments of the two sides, the court said it will issue its order on India's request for provisional measures "as soon as possible" India demanded the immediate suspension of Jadhav's death sentence, expressing fears that Pakistan could execute him even before the hearing at the ICJ was over. However, Pakistan asserted that the execution was not imminent.

Kulbhushan Jadhav
Kulbhushan Jadhav

India made a forceful submission as the ICJ began hearing the case of the 46-year-old former Navy officer who was arrested on March 3 last year and sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of espionage and subversive activities.

"Jadhav has not got the right to get proper legal assistance and the right to consular access. There is an immediate threat to him to be executed even before a decision is passed," joint secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs Deepak Mittal said. Lead attorney Harish Salve said, "The execution of the death sentence cannot be done while this court is hearing the appeal. Else, it will be a violation of the Vienna Convention."

Pakistan said India's application on Jadhav was "unnecessary and misconceived" and must be dismissed. India has seen it fit to use the International Court of Justice as a stage for "political theatre" but "we will not respond in kind", Mohammad Faisal of the Pakistan Foreign Office said.

The ICJ denied permission to Pakistan to play a purported "confessional" video of Jadhav at the public hearing. Later, after the hearings, Salve told a TV channel that the ICJ denying permission to Pakistan to play the "confessional" video was a setback to it.