Press Trust of india

‘Indian diplomat in Pak wants to explain India’s stance on Jadhav’s counsel appointment’

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Islamabad: The counsel for the Indian High Commission in Pakistan has informed the Islamabad High Court that Deputy High Commissioner Gaurav Ahluwalia wants to explain India’s stance over appointment of a lawyer for death-row prisoner Kulbhushan Jadhav, according to a media report on Wednesday.

Appearing before the IHC larger bench comprising Chief Justice Athar Minallah, Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb, the counsel for the Indian High Commission, Barrister Shahnawaz Noon, on Tuesday said the matter related to the appointment of a lawyer for Jadhav had been discussed in detail and Ahluwalia could explain the stance of the Indian government before the court, the Dawn News reported.

Justice Minallah said in order to implement the ICJ judgement, the IHC had been waiting for a response from the Indian government since “it is our duty to ensure fair trial”. If the diplomat wanted to appear before the court, “he is always welcome”, he added.

The Attorney General, Khalid Jawed Khan, suggested to the court that the Indian Deputy High Commissioner could come but India should engage a counsel first for the case.

Noon also informed the court that India was also concerned about the detention of another Indian national convicted of espionage, Ismail, even after he had served out his term, the report said.

Ismail Samma, 53, a resident of Nana Dinara village, some 50 km from the Indo-Pakistan border in Gujarat’s Kutch district, went missing in August 2008 as he strayed into the Pakistan side while grazing cattle.

He was arrested by Pakistani authorities and was sentenced to five years in jail for espionage in October 2011.

Noon informed the high court that the Deputy High Commissioner showed his intent to explain India’s stance over appointment of counsel for Jadhav, the report said.

A Pakistani parliamentary panel in October had approved a government bill that seeks a review of the conviction of Jadhav, complying with the directives of the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

Fifty-year-old retired Indian Navy officer Jadhav was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of espionage and terrorism in April 2017.

In 2017, India approached the ICJ against Pakistan for denial of consular access to Jadhav and challenging the death sentence handed to him by a military court.

The Hague-based ICJ ruled in July 2019 that Pakistan must undertake an “effective review and reconsideration” of the conviction and sentence of Jadhav and also to grant consular access to India without further delay.

Referring to Ismail’s case, Attorney General Khan apprised the court that the matter had already been taken up with the Interior ministry, which has sought some time to respond.

The IHC bench sought a report from the attorney general by the next date of hearing on January 14.

Justice Minallah observed that there was no need to detain a prisoner after completion of sentence. “The court would pass an appropriate order by the next date if the matter remains unresolved,” he remarked.

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