The case of Indian national Kulbushan Jadhav, which India had brought before the UN’s highest judicial organ named International Court of Justice at the Hague, has shamed and humiliated Pakistan for throwing to wind the internationally recognized norms of prosecuting a foreign national for charges of espionage and subversion. On March 3 last year the former Indian naval officer was kidnapped by Pakistani intelligence organization from Iran border. He was slammed with the charge of being a mole of the Indian intelligence organization RAW on an espionage mission to Pakistan to gather intelligence to be passed on to the Indians and to foment trouble in the Pakistani disturbed province of Baluchistan. India stoutly contradicted this accusation saying that Jadhav was a retired naval officer and was on a private business mission to Iran.
Pakistan army claims that according to the constitution of Pakistan, the cases of espionage are to be dealt with by the army and not the civilian authority. Consequently, Jadhav was tried in a military court and given death punishment which was immediately endorsed by the Pakistani army chief. While Jadhav was being prosecuted India approached Pakistan a number of times to allow consular access to the Indian national but Pakistan declined to respond. In this way, Pakistan threw a shroud of secrecy over the case and nobody exactly knew what was going on in the matter and where was Jadhav.
Failing to make Pakistan follow the accepted norms of trying a foreign national on espionage charge, Government of India decided to move the International Court of Justice in the Hague to save its citizen from arbitrary, illegal, unconstitutional and immoral verdict of a Pakistani military court. It goes to the credit of the Prime Minister who took the courage and moved the ICJ for its verdict on a sensitive issue that had bedeviled relations between India and Pakistan. It will be remembered that after kidnapping Jadhav and framing a false case of espionage against him, Pakistan has been trumpeting all over the world that there is a living proof of India interfering in the internal affairs of Pakistan and subverting law and order in the disturbed province of Baluchistan. Ever since the Punjabi dominated army of Pakistan unleashed terror on ethnic Baluchs many years ago and suppressed the Baluch national uprising, she has been claiming that it is India that is fomenting trouble in Baluchistan. Never has Pakistan been able to produce a tangible proof of this accusation. But now an innocent Indian citizen kidnapped from some place on Iran-Pakistan border is projected at all and sundry platforms as a proof of Indian’s perfidy in Baluchistan.
In this background it had become unavoidable for the Indian Government to move the highest international judicial authority to examine and issue its verdict on how Pakistan had been trying to implicate Indian intelligence agency.
It was amusing to see how Pakistan was unable to defend the illegal action of Pakistani army and the Government when the story Pakistani intelligence ISI framing the false case against Jadhav was unfolded by the Indian side. Pakistan argued that the application of India for staying the death order against the Indian national was outside the purview of the ICJ and hence should be rejected. The verdict categorically asserted that the case was very much within the jurisdiction of the ICJ and as such it would proceed with it without any inhibition. The second point which India had brought before the ICJ and which was of crucial importance was that despite several requests Pakistan declined permission to India for consular access to the accused in Pakistani jail. India invoked the Vienna Convention of 1977 to which both India and Pakistan are signatories. According to this Convention, consular access has to be provided to a foreign national who is accused of espionage and remains interned for prosecution. The ICJ in very clear words said that India should have been allowed consular access. The ruling of the ICJ established that requests were made but never responded.
Shamed and humiliated for telling lies and making false statements before the ICJ, Pakistani press has begun a tirade against the civilian Government of Nawaz Sharif that it has not handled the case at The Hague properly and efficiently. The question is not handling it properly or not properly; the entire question is about how brazenly Pakistan authorities framed the case not only to malign India and its intelligence agency RAW but also to put an end to the life of an innocent Indian. This highway-like behavior of Pakistan stands exposed in the eyes of the international community. All credit should go to the Prime Minister Modi for his courage and determination to expose Pakistan’s perfidy and charade before the world community. The 11-page unanimous verdict of the ICJ is considered a rare instance when a very clear and unambiguous ruling has been scripted. The ICJ instructed Pakistan to take all “necessary measures at its disposal” to ensure that Jadhav was not executed pending a final decision by it. The decision of the 11-judge bench was unanimous, ICJ President Ronny Abraham said while reading out the verdict. The ICJ said that India should have been granted consular access to its national as per the Vienna Convention to which both countries have been the signatories.
Although stay has been ordered on the execution of Jadhav by Pakistan, yet this is only an interim decision and the final decision is yet to come. When that will come cannot be said right now? India has to move and bring the case to its logical conclusion. The question now asked in various political circles is what if Pakistan does not enforce the verdict of the ICJ. The point is whether Pakistan wants to destroy its credibility with the international community by trying to frame a false case against an Indian citizen and failing to prove it before the ICJ? No sensible state will do that. There could be the apprehensions that Pakistani authorities will try to do harm to the person and life of Jadhav before they face more humiliation when the court will order the release of Jadhav. May be India will have to approach the Security Council for ensuring that no harm is done to Jadhav while he remains imprisoned in Pakistan. India has no time to wait and must act fast. Falsehood needs to be struck down and smashed through unrelenting strikes one after another.