ISLAMABAD: Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Ashtar Ausaf Ali has urged the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to adopt an expedited timeline for an early substantive hearing of the Kulbhushan Jadhav case.
Jadhav, an Indian spy arrested from Balochistan last year, was awarded capital punishment by a military court in Pakistan on April 10 for ‘fomenting terrorism in Balochistan and Karachi’. However, his execution was stayed on May 18 by the ICJ on India’s request.
According to a statement issued by the AGP office, a meeting between ICJ President Ronny Abrahim and delegations from Pakistan and India took place on Thursday to discuss the timeline of the case. The ICJ registrar and other officials were also present in the meeting which continued for 45 minutes.
The statement clarified that it was not a hearing to discuss on substance or merits of the case. The purpose of the meeting was only to discuss procedural matters, including the timelines for submission of written memorials and to enable a hearing to be listed.
The delegation from Pakistan was led by the AGP. Other members of the delegation included Foreign Office Director General for South Asia Dr Muhammad Faisal, FO’s Head of International Disputes Unit Ahmad Irfan Aslam and Pakistan’s counsel Khawar Qureshi.
The statement said the ICJ president sought views of the parties as to the time required for submission of their written pleadings and supporting evidence, called memorials.
The AGP asked the court to adopt an expedited timeline with a view to having an early substantive hearing of the case. The AGP also informed the ICJ about Pakistan’s intent to appoint an ad hoc judge who will sit on the bench for all proceedings in the case including the substantive hearing.
The statement claimed that Indian’s plea regarding release or acquittal of Jadhav could never be heard by the ICJ as was stated by Khawar Qureshi during his arguments on May 15.
“The Government of Pakistan is fully confident that India can never succeed in its application. India can never obtain acquittal or release of Kulbhushan on the basis of its application,” said the statement.
It said the ICJ did not make any finding on the jurisdiction or merits of the case as Pakistan’s arguments on the jurisdiction and merits will be considered by the court at the full hearing.
Meanwhile, sources said the government was considering a few names for nomination as ad hoc judge at the international court, adding that the name of a senior lawyer was also under consideration.
A senior lawyer with vast experience of international arbitration believes it is necessary to revamp the FO’s legal wing as it failed to give proper advice for dealing with the Jadhav’s case.
Another senior official told The Express Tribune that India had successfully manoeuvred to fix the case in ICJ on May 15. “We were surprised how swiftly Jadhav’s case was fixed before the ICJ,” he said.
A source said that Pakistan’s counsel Khawar Qureshi had made it clear to the authorities that the ICJ would grant provisional stay over Jadhav’s execution.
However, despite advice of the lawyer and the AGP office, the government did not allow the counsel to assure the ICJ that they would not hang the spy till it decided its jurisdiction in the matter.