Indian lawyer or Queen's counsel must represent Kulbhushan Jadhav in Pak: MEA
New Delhi, Sep 17: India on Thursday called for the appointment of an Indian lawyer or a Queen's counsel for Indian death-row prisoner Kulbhushan Jadhav to ensure a free and fair trial in the review of his death sentence in Pakistan.
The assertion by India comes days after Pakistan's Parliament has extended for four months an ordinance that allowed Jadhav to file an appeal against his conviction in a high court as required by the International Court of Justice.
Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said the government of Pakistan has not been able to fulfil its obligations on implementation of the ICJ judgment in letter and spirit. "It has not yet addressed the core issues, which include provision of all documents related to the case, providing unconditional and unimpeded consular access to Kulbhusan Jadhav and appointment of an Indian lawyer or a Queen's counsel to ensure a free and fair trial," he said at an online media briefing.
Queen's Counsel is a barrister or advocate, appointed Counsel to the UK Crown on the recommendation of the Lord Chancellor. Earlier this month, the Islamabad High Court in Pakistan directed the federal government to give India another chance to appoint a lawyer to represent Jadhav and adjourned hearing for a month.
In 2017, India approached the ICJ against Pakistan for denial of consular access to Jadhav and challenging the death sentence handed to him by a military court. The Hague-based ICJ ruled in July 2019 that Pakistan must undertake an "effective review and reconsideration" of the conviction and sentence of Jadhav and also to grant consular access to India without further delay.
India has slammed Pakistan for adopting a "farcical" approach in denying available legal remedies to Jadhav against his death sentence in contravention of the ICJ order. Fifty-year-old retired Indian Navy officer Jadhav was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of espionage and terrorism in April 2017.
In response to questions on India walking out of a meeting of the national security advisors of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in protest after the Pakistani representative used a "fictitious" map showing Indian territories as part of Pakistan, Srivastava said before, during and after this meeting, India had conveyed its strong objection to the chair as well as to the SCO member states.
"Our objection was noted by the chair. The use of this fictitious map by Pakistan is in complete disregard to the advisory by the chair as well as it is in violation of the norms of the meeting," he said.