India continues to attempt to repaint the ICJ judgement in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case as something very different from what the court wrote. The Foreign Office has, for the umpteenth time, rejected “baseless and inaccurate” claims by India, in this instance by Harish Salve, a former solicitor general of India who also served as the country’s legal counsel in the Jadhav case before the ICJ. Last week, Salve made a series of claims during an online lecture, including that India has been trying to use back-channel diplomacy to convince Pakistan to release Jadhav. The more controversial claim, however, was that Pakistan had refused to respond to how it would follow through on the ICJ judgement. Salve claimed India had written four letters to Pakistan seeking information on the progress in implementing the judgement, and Pakistan was refusing to answer them. He also claimed Pakistan had delayed the grant of consular access, and India might go back to the ICJ to get the judgement enforced, specifically the review of Jadhav’s case.
The Foreign Office countered over the weekend by noting that Pakistan “fully complied” with the judgement. The FO clarified that Pakistan granted India consular access and is “processing measures for effective review and reconsideration as per the guidelines provided by ICJ in its judgment”. Salve’s statements were “regrettable and a misrepresentation of facts”, according to the FO. But why would the otherwise well-reputed Salve lie? An answer may be in his audience. The lecture was organised by Akhil Bharatiya Adhivakta Parishad, the lawyers’ wing of the RSS. Obviously, admitting Pakistan was following the law would have probably gotten him in trouble. After all, this is the lawyers’ wing of a body that did not even accept the Constitution of India for decades and has been involved in domestic terrorism. But why Salve would have even chosen to speak to them is still not clear. Just imagine if a top Pakistani lawyer had given a lecture to the Taliban.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 12th, 2020.
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