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Kulbhushan Jadhav case at ICJ: Pak using Jadhav to build anti-India narrative, says Salve

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Hague, Feb 18: Putting forth a strong argument at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case, India on Monday sought annulment of Jadhav's conviction and a direction that he be released from custody.

Amid tensions over the Pulwama terror attack, the final hearing in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case were held on Monday at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague in The Netherlands.

Kulbhushan Jadhav case at ICJ: Pakistan hasn’t complied treaty obligations, says India

The hearing in the ICJ was adjourned for the day after India's counsel Harish Salve put forth his argument opposing the death penalty awarded to Jadhav by a Pakistan military court. The hearing will resume on Tuesday.

While putting forth India's strong objection to treatment meted out to Jadhav, Salve argued at length explaining how Pakistan has been trying to build a narrative against India by using Jadhav.

"Pakistan's conduct doesn't inspire confidence that Jadhav can get justice there. Pakistan has in custody an Indian National who has been publicly portrayed to be a terrorist and Indian agent creating unrest in Balochistan...Pakistan used Jadhav to build a narrative against India," he said at the ICJ.

On the first day of the four-day public hearing at Hague in Neatherlands, Salve also said that India has always offered consular access to Pakistan, even when people were caught red-handed in acts of terror.

[Will tell UN court to Kulbhushan Jadhav off death row says India]

"I would invite this court to keep in mind the relief to be granted in the backdrop of the fact that his trial has been conducted by a military court," Salve further said.

India on Monday accused Pakistan of misusing the International Court of Justice for propaganda as the top UN court began a four-day public hearing in the case of Kulbhushan Jadhav sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of espionage. India, during the first day of the hearing, based its case on two broad issues -- breach of Vienna Convention on consular access and the process of resolution.

India's counsel Harish Salve said that the Pakistan denied consular access to India which is in egregious breach of the Vienna Convention. "Pakistan has no substantive defence. Pakistan hasn't even divulged fundamental details of the so-called offence. Issues raised by Islamabad have no relevance," said India's Harish Salve at UN court. "Pakistan story was always strong on rhetoric and weak on facts," he added.

"Beginning from March 30, 2016, India sent 13 reminders for consular access (for Kulbhushan Jadhav) on various dates but received no positive response from Pakistan," said India's representative Harish Salve at UN court.

"The alleged "confession" was obtained from Kulbhushan Jadhav even before registering an FIR. Pakistan also didn't share any details of the investigation," said India's representative Harish Salve at UN court.

"Even the date of Kulbhushan Jadhav's arrest is not known, he was not even given a lawyer," he added.

Article 36 of Vienna Convention requires that a country must be informed about the detention of its citizens but Pakistan didn't inform India on Kulbhushan Jadhav's "arrest", said India's Harish Salve at UN court.

According to Article 36 of the Vienna Convention, consular access must be given before the trial is over. India wasn't granted consular access in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case even though India made multiple requests, said Harish Salve.

Pakistan should have provided a substantial explanation for why it needed 3 months for providing consular access,upon which it could have claimed that it has complied with treaty obligation,Pakistan hasn't complied treaty obligations.

India will ask the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Monday for consular access to former Indian Navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav, who has been sentenced to death by a military court in Pakistan. India will make the first round of oral arguments from 10 am to 1 pm in The Hague (2.30 pm to 5.30 pm IST).

India took Pakistan to the world court on the grounds that Islamabad violated the Vienna Convention by denying consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav.

Pakistan countered it with another argument questioning the jurisdiction of the ICJ in a case that involves, according to Pakistan, a spy. It added that India and Pakistan have a bilateral agreement whereby consular access can be denied to those caught in acts of espionage.

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