ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has requested the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to expedite the hearing of the Indian spy case, whose execution was stayed on May 18.
Sources told The Express Tribune that the ministry of foreign affairs sent a letter to the ICJ’s registrar, expressing Pakistan’s desire for a quick hearing, preferably over the next few weeks.
Sources say that the request was made in view of the upcoming elections for ICJ judges, scheduled to be held in November.
However, a senior official believed that the ICJ might resume the hearing of the case in October.
“The government (however) wants the hearing (to be held in the) next six weeks,” he said.
Attorney-General Ashtar Ausaf Ali is expected to attend the ICJ proceedings. However, the federal government has not taken any decision about replacing Khawar Quraishi.
“His performance is satisfactory … He raised all (relevant) legal points during the hearing,” says a senior official of the law ministry.
Sources also said that the government was considering a few names for nominating them as ad hoc ICJ judge, adding that the name of a senior lawyer was also under consideration.
Legal experts are beginning to wonder why Pakistan wants to appoint a foreigner as an ad hoc judge when every state prefers to nominate its own lawyers.
They are urging the attorney-general’s office to consult local lawyers before finalising a legal strategy in this regard.
A senior lawyer, with vast experience of international arbitration, believes that it was necessary to revamp the legal wing of the Foreign Office because it failed to give proper advice to deal with Jadhav’s case.
Another senior official told The Express Tribune that India successfully manoeuvred to fix the case in ICJ. “We were surprised how swiftly Jadhav’s case was fixed before the ICJ,” he said.
“We must also remember that the majority of judges on the ICJ bench are from countries where they have abolished the death sentence,” a senior lawyer remarked on the stay in Kulbhushan’s execution.
Pakistan Bar Council’s (PBC) executive member Raheel Kamran Sheikh expressed concern over Pakistan’s dismal success rate in international arbitration at just two per cent. He pointed out that “India’s success rate was 60 per cent”.
“We have lost important cases at international forums over the past couple of years, while spending more than a billion rupees in lawyers’ fees,” he said.
According to Sheikh, the mishandling of Jadhav’s case was a classic example of how the power struggle between military and political institutions played out and gaps in foreign policy and national security perspectives grew.
“State may suffer irreparable damage if gaps are not immediately bridged … in the national interest by both centres of power,” Sheikh said.
A senior official in the attorney-general’s office, who was not authorised to speak to the media, said although India got the stay on Jadhav’s execution, ultimately Pakistan would win the case and India would be embarrassed.
“We are in no hurry to execute him [Jadhav] as he is making more disclosures,” he said, adding that India wanted to secure an ex-parte order in this case; that is why Pakistan preferred to present its point of view.