Kulbhushan Jadhav verdict: Friends hopeful of his release

Published: Jul 17, 2019, 14:47 IST | mid-day online desk

Kulbhushan Jadhav has been sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on alleged charges of espionage and terrorism

Kulbhushan Jadhav verdict: Friends hopeful of his release
Indian friends of Kulbhushan Jadhav hold a photograph of them with Jadhav in the neighborhood where he grew up in Mumbai on May 18, 2017. File photo

Ahead of the verdict by International Court Justice (ICJ) of Kulbhushan Jadhav, friends of the Indian national on death row in Pakistan, have expressed hope that today's verdict will be in his favour and will facilitate his safe return.

Jadhav has been sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on alleged charges of espionage and terrorism. India has repeatedly sought consular access to Jadhav since March 2016, when the High Commission of India in Islamabad was first informed of his custody with Pakistan authorities.

Jadhav's friend Arvind Singh said, "We have high hopes that Jahdhav will soon return to India. I am happy about the fact that our country has represented this case very well in the ICJ. (Harish) Salve Ji has done a great job. I am hopeful that the ICJ will give judgment in our favour. In the last three years, Pakistan has shown lots of doctored videos which were not accepted by the ICJ. Till now Pakistan has no solid evidence against Jadhav."

Vandana Tulsidas Pawar said, "I am hopeful that Jadhav will be freed soon. Pakistan is a liar. We have high hopes from ICJ today. My only fear is what next Pakistan will do?."

The verdict is likely to be read out by President of the ICJ Judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf at around 6:30 pm (IST) at the Peace Palace in The Hague. The Indian side is expected to be represented by Joint Secretary (Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran) Deepak Mittal and officials from the Legal and Treaties Division of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).

Pakistan's legal team, headed by Attorney General for Pakistan Anwar Mansoor Khan has reached The Hague in the Netherlands, where the ICJ is headquartered. The team also included Foreign Office Spokesperson Muhammad Faisal.

Kulbhushan Jadhav is a 49-year-old former Naval officer who was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on April 11, 2017. Following this, India had approached the ICJ against Pakistan "for egregious violations of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, 1963" in the matter and also alleged that Pakistan had denied India rights of consular access to Jadhav despite repeated requests. India has contended that it had not been informed of Jadhav's detention until long after his arrest and that Pakistan had failed to inform the accused of his rights.

On May 18, 2017, a 10-member bench of the ICJ stopped Pakistan from executing Jadhav till the adjudication of the case. In February 2019, the ICJ rejected five pleas made by Pakistan during the hearing of Kulbhushan Jadhav's case, including the playing of so-called 'confessional statement' of the Indian national and a request to adjourn the hearing citing illness of its ad-hoc judge. The four-day hearing in Jadhav's case started on February 18 at the ICJ headquarters in The Hague.

Edited by mid-day online desk with inputs from PTI

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