Islamabad: After the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled that Pakistan violated the consular rights to Kulbhushan Jadhav and must review the death sentence of the convicted Indian spy, Pakistan and India both hailed it as “a victory” for their respective countries.
But whose victory is it anyway? “It would not be accurate to claim it as any one country’s victory as the judgment is accommodating to both countries,” Riffat Butt, a former judge and international law expert, told Gulf News. “There were three aspects of the cases which were jurisdiction, admissibility, and merit of the case. The first two were against Pakistan while in the third part Pakistan got some relief,” she explained. The reason India is claiming it a triumph is “because the case focused on consular access and court requested Pakistan to give consular access to Jadhav rejecting Pakistan’s claims.” But at the same time, the court asked Pakistan to review the sentence by means of Pakistan’s own choosing, which demonstrates ICJ’s confidence in Pakistan’s judicial system, she said.
Pakistan is hailing the fact that the international court did not annul the decision of Pakistani military court and rejected India’s additional claim of relief for Jadhav such as his release, safe passage to India and trial in civilian courts. “ICJ is not a court of criminal appeal, therefore, India’s request to nullify criminal proceedings and repatriate Jadhav were based on false hopes as the World Court is not empowered to order the release of any convict.”
Talking to Gulf News, Barrister Taimur Malek, an international law expert, said the ICJ has demonstrated “judicial restraint” in the case by denying some of India’s requests and by asking Pakistan to review and reconsider the case. “The court requested Pakistan to grant consular access to Jadhav and review the matter that too by means of its own choosing. The fact that the Court has left the matter to Pakistani courts should be seen as sign of confidence in the Pakistani judicial system” Malek claimed.
Ahmer Bilal Soofi, former federal minister of law, termed the ruling a “technical victory for India” but “real victory for Pakistan.” However, he said that the government of Pakistan would now minutely review the judgment of the ICJ to implement the decision according to international law.
On the other hand, Indian High Commissioner Ajay Bisaria is expected to contact Pakistani authorities soon to get consular access to Jadhav.