S Jaishankar: Pakistan should immediately release Kulbhushan Jadhav
Kulbhushan Jadhav is innocent of the charges made against him. His forced confession without legal representation and due process will not change this reality," he said.
New Delhi: A day after the World Court ordered Pakistan to review death penalty to Kulbhushan Jadhav, India asked Pakistan to release the former Navy officer forthwith and vowed to vigorously continue efforts to bring him back on Thursday. Making a statement in both houses of Parliament on the judgement by the International Court of Justice, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar stated, "Pakistan was found to have deprived India of the right to communicate with Jadhav, have access to him, visit him in detention and arrange his legal representation."
"Kulbhushan Jadhav is innocent of the charges made against him. His forced confession without legal representation and due process will not change this reality," he said. "We once again call upon Pakistan to release and repatriate him forthwith," the minister said. The International Court of Justice directed Pakistan to suspend the death sentence given to in 2017 Jadhav on charges of espionage and sabotage on Wednesday . "The Government will vigorously continue its efforts to ensure his safety and wellbeing, as well as his early return to India," Jaishankar stated as members cutting across party lines welcomed the landmark judgement by thumping benches.
Kulbhushan Jadhav (49), a retired Indian Navy officer, was sentenced to death by the Pakistani military court on charges of "espionage and terrorism" after a closed trial in April 2017. Jaishankar said that the House would recall that Jadhav was awarded a death sentence by a Pakistani military court martial on fabricated charges. This was done without providing Indian representatives consular access to him, as envisaged by international law and practice. "We made it clear even at that time that India would view very seriously the possibility that an innocent Indian citizen could face death sentence in Pakistan without due process and in violation of basic norms of law and justice," the minister said.
"The dissenting judge was from Pakistan. It did so by not notifying India without delay of the detention of Shri Jadhav, thereby depriving us of the right to render consular assistance. The Court declared that Pakistan is under an obligation to inform Shri Jadhav without further delay of his rights and to provide India consular access to him," he said. "It stated that appropriate reparation in this case was for Pakistan to provide, by means of its own choosing, review and reconsideration of the conviction and sentence of Shri Jadhav."
He said a continued say of execution constitutes an "indispensable condition for the process of effective review and reconsideration. Government has made untiring efforts in seeking his release, including through legal means in the International Court of Justice," he said. "Yesterday's judgement is not only a vindication for India and Shri Jadhav, but for all those who believe in the rule of law and the sanctity of international treaties."
Edited by mid-day online desk with inputs from PTI
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