Pakistan has said it is not legally possible to allow a lawyer from India to represent the Indian prisoner on death row Kulbhushan Jadhav in a court in that country, according to Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri, the Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson.
“The Indian side has been making incongruous demands of allowing Indian lawyers to represent Commander Jadhav. We have repeatedly told them only those lawyers can represent Commander Jadhav in the court who have a licence to practice law in Pakistan,” Indian Express quoted the spokesperson as saying.
“This is in accordance with the legal practice in other jurisdictions also. The Indian Supreme Court, in one of its judgments, has also ruled that foreign lawyers cannot practice law within the country,” he added.
The next hearing in the case is on September 3.
Jadhav (50) is a retired Indian Navy officer. He was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of “espionage and terrorism” in April 2017. Weeks later, India approached the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against Pakistan for denial of consular access to Jadhav and challenging the death sentence.
The Hague-based ICJ ruled in July last year 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.
The Pakistan government had on June 17, after the enactment of ‘the International Court of Justice (Review and Reconsideration) Ordinance, 2020’ invited Jadhav to file a review and reconsideration of his conviction and sentencing by military court on charges of espionage. The Indian High Commission was also asked to arrange a legal representation for him.
As per Dawn newspaper, the special legislation allows foreigners, their authorized representatives or consular officials of the mission of their country, to seek a review by the high court of conviction and sentences awarded by a military court in instances in which ICJ has ruled about their rights under Vienna Convention on Consular Relations of 1963.
“To give effect to the ICJ judgment, the government of Pakistan has itself approached the Islamabad High Court,” the spokesman said.
Last month, Pakistan provided consular access to Jadhav, days ahead of a deadline to file a review petition in a court against his conviction by a military court.
Related news: Kulbhusan Jadhav: An Indian spy or an innocent victim?
This was the second consular access to Jadhav. The first consular access was provided by Pakistan on September 2, 2019, the Pakistan Foreign Office was quoted as saying.
“However, the Indian consular officials abruptly left while the consular meeting with Commander Jadhav was underway,” the spokesman claimed.
Pakistan claims its security forces arrested Jadhav from the restive Balochistan province on March 3, 2016 after he reportedly entered from Iran. India maintains that Jadhav was kidnapped from Iran where he had business interests after retiring from the Navy.