The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday has granted three more weeks for the Indian government to appoint counsel for the captured spy and agent of intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) Kulbhushan Jadhav.
Reportedly, this decision was taken at the request of the Indian High Commission and the new deadline for appointing the council is January 14, 2021.
It is our responsibility to ensure a fair trial in the case, IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah said during the proceedings.
According to the lawyer of the Indian High Commission, Barrister Shahnawaz, meetings are being held in New Delhi regarding the issue. The lawyer further said that the Indian government is concerned about the continued detention of Muhammad Ismail in spite of completing his sentence.
Ismail should be freed if there is no bar, the IHC CJ responded. To this, the attorney-general had said the offence pertains to the Official Secrets Act.
On October 6, the IHC had taken up an appeal related to the appointment of a state council for the Indian spy, but Attorney-General of Pakistan (AGP) Khalid Javed had informed the court that the Indian reply had indicated that it was not serious about the implementation of International Court of Justice (ICJ)’s decision pertaining to its spy.
Previously, Pakistan had invited India to move a review and reconsideration petition before the IHC under “The International Court of Justice (Review and Reconsideration) Ordinance 2020” against Jadhav’s conviction.
The invitation had bee extended to the Indian government after Jadhav twice declined to take advantage of the law, insisting that sympathetic consideration be given to his mercy petition pending with Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa.
Earlier on July 22, 2020, the government had moved the court stating that Jadhav, who was involved in several terrorist activities in Pakistan, had refused to file a plea against his sentence. The agent cannot appoint a lawyer in Pakistan without assistance from India, it had read.
On July 2, Pakistan had decided to grant third consular access to Jadhav following his refusal to file a review petition against his sentence.
On July 16, Indian charge d’affaires had reached the FO as New Delhi had accepted Pakistan’s offer to give second consular access to Jadhav. The place where the agent was kept had been declared as sub-jail.
Aisha said that on September 2, 2019, Pakistan had provided the first consular access to Jadhav under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations 1963. She said that the mother and wife of Commander Jadhav were also allowed to meet him on December 25, 2017.
She also said that Pakistan provided two consular officers of the Indian High Commission in Islamabad unimpeded and uninterrupted consular access to Indian Commander Jadhav.
On July 17, 2019, ICJ had rejected remedies sought by India, including annulment of military court decision convicting Jadhav, his release and safe passage to India.
The government had arrested Jadhav alias Hussein Mubarak Patel in the province of Balochistan on charges of terrorism and spying for India’s RAW.
The government had stated that he was a serving commander in the Indian Navy who was involved in subversive activities inside Pakistan and was arrested on March 3, 2016, during a counter-intelligence operation in Mashkel, Balochistan. The Indian government had recognised Jadhav as a former naval officer but denied any current links with him and maintained that he took premature retirement and was abducted from Iran.
On March 25, 2016, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) had released the confessional statement of Jadhav where he claimed to be a serving Indian Navy officer.
“By 2002, I commenced intelligence operations. In 2003, I established a small business in Chabahar in Iran,” he had admitted. “As I was able to achieve undetected existence and visits to Karachi in 2003 and 2004. Having done some basic assignments within India for RAW, I was picked up by RAW in 2013 end.”
He had said that his purpose was to meet Baloch insurgents and carry out “activities with their collaboration.”
On April 8, 2017, ISPR had lodged a first information report (FIR) against him whereas on April 11, 2017, COAS Bajwa had confirmed the death sentence of Jadhav who was tried through Field General Court Martial (FGCM) under Pakistan Army Act (PAA). He was tried under section 59 of the Pakistan Army Act (PAA) 1952 and Section III of the official Secret Act of 1923.
FGCM had found Jadhav guilty of all the charges. He had confessed before a magistrate and the court that he was tasked by RAW to plan, coordinate and organise espionage and sabotage activities aiming to destabilise and wage war against Pakistan by impeding the efforts of law enforcement agencies (LEAs) for restoring peace in Balochistan and Karachi.
On May 8, 2017, India had approached the ICJ against Pakistan for denying consular access to Jadhav.
On May 18, 2017, the ICJ had stayed the execution pending the final judgment on the case, and even on July 13, 2018, ICJ stayed Jadhav’s execution in Pakistan.
On June 22, 2017, Jadhav gave a second confessional statement where he confessed to carrying out subversive activities in Balochistan.
On Feb 22, 2019, ICJ had reserved its judgment in Jadhav case whereas they ruled the verdict on July 17, 2019.