The National Assembly of Pakistan on Thursday adopted a bill that would give the right to appeal to Indian national Kulbushan Jadhav who has been languishing in jails of the neighbouring country since 2016 after he was kidnapped by Pakistani intelligence agencies from Iran.
In its 2019 ruling, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) had asked Pakistan to give an effective review and reconsideration to Jadhav’s case.
While India maintains that Jadhav, a former Navy officer, is a private citizen and was kidnapped from Iran where he had gone for a business dealing and then handed over to the Pakistan army, Islamabad continues to allege that Jadhav is an Indian spy responsible for carrying out terror attacks inside Pakistan.
A military court had sentenced Jadhav to death, after which the government of India had moved the ICJ. Following a favourable ruling to India, Pakistan granted consular access to Jadhav. On September 2, 2019, the then Indian Charge d Affairs Gaurab Ahluwalia met him in a Pakistani jail.
The Pakistan government had earlier enacted an ordinance, titled International Court of Justice CJ Review and Reconsideration Ordinance, 2020, on May 29, 2020. It was presented and adopted in the National Assembly on Thursday after an approval from the standing committee.
As soon as the government moved the bill in the National Assembly, the members from the opposition parties stood up on their benches and raised objections against it and termed it a surrender of the government before Indian demands. They accused the Imran Khan-led government of working at the behest of India.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Shah Mahmood Qureshi, who moved the bill in the National Assembly, said Pakistan was only following the ruling of the International Court of Justice as he accused the opposition members of speaking the language of India.
“You are the people who spoiled Jadhav’s story. We are the ones who saved the image of Pakistan. India wants to drag Pakistan to the ICJ and say it failed to follow the ruling,” Qureshi said.
“We say that we respect the directions of the ICJ wherein it asked us to give consular access to Jadhav,” he added.