Babar Khan Bozdar
THE United Nations’ highest court had directed Pakistan to stay the execution of Kulbhushan Yadav, given capital punishment by a military court for alleged involvement in espionage and terrorism in Pakistan, till it gave its final decision on India’s petition to annul his death sentence. It is important to note that, India and Pakistan are all-weather enemies and their relations have gotten worse on many occasions but India always stressed to resolve these issues bilaterally and no doubt many issues have been resolved bilaterally and many are still pending.
The last time India and Pakistan took a question to the ICJ was in 1999 when Islamabad challenged the bringing down of a Pakistani naval force plane in which 16 individual’s grasped affliction. In that case, the tribunal decided it was not competent to rule in the dispute and closed the case. Simultaneously, In Yadav’s case tribunal has no such right to decide. In this issue, neither third party is involved nor is it an ICJ’s jurisdiction. The son of a retired police officer Mr. Jadhav joined India´s National Defence Academy in 1987 and was commissioned as an engineer in the Indian Navy in 1991. Indian legal counselor Deepak Mittal in his interview told that Mr. Yadav was “a blameless Indian national” who had been held incommunicado “for over a year on created charges”. But Pakistani representatives accused New Delhi of “political grandstanding” and told the court Yadav “has confessed to having been sent by India to wage terror on the innocent civilians and infrastructure of Pakistan”.
Despite all the evidence and realities presented by Pakistan in the court were ignored while Indian baseless statements were heard carefully in the court. Moreover, the court has no such authority to stop Yadav’s capital punishment. Secondly, it is not the jurisdiction of ICJ. It is important to note that, there is no extradition treaty between India and Pakistan. In this regard, Indian demand for counselor access to Yadav has no value, while he was provided with defending officer by Pakistan as per law. Remember that, Pakistan also asked India to allow a Pakistani lawyer in Ajmal Kasab case but Indian authorities rejected Pakistani demand. For me both are terrorists either it would be Kasab or Yadav, both should be treated on the same ground.
The verdict of International Court of Justice has aroused many questions in the mind. There are numerous issues pending between India and Pakistan. If all these issues would be taken to the International Court of Justice. Will ICJ be able to resolve these issues? If Pakistan takes Kashmir issue in ICJ’s, will it direct India to stop human rights violations in Kashmir and withdraw its forces from the valley? If the International Court of Justice gives such assurance of fair decision then Pakistan should pursue it otherwise it is waste of time and efforts. The International Court of Justice has ignored all the evidence to save a person who is involved in worst criminal activities like sabotaging, bomb blasts, and other anti-state activates. There are serious charges against Yadav and he should be hanged. Pakistan should also approach ICJ to resolve Kashmir conflict and other issues like Indian move on Indus water treaty in recent two-three months. Secondly ICJ should take suo motu on Kashmir issues otherwise the verdict in Yadav’s case will be treated as a double standard of ICJ and it will undermine the credibility of the International Court of Justice.
As against the judicial norms, the Indian Judge Dalveer Bhandari at the International Court of Justice has openly reacted over the court judgement in the issue of the Kulbhushan Yadav case. Moreover, he had described the ICJ order as a “hugely satisfying interim pronouncement which is a great diplomatic victory for India”. ICJ failed in providing neutral and fair decision in Indian spy case. The Indian spy verdict has politicised the International Court of Justice. If ICJ holds little norms or courage it will take suo motu action on Kashmir issue, Palestine, where Jews are building their residence beyond the border. This verdict disappointed many of the peoples in Pakistan and they believe that ICJ is another diplomatic front for India.
Today Yadav’s case is perhaps the most contentious dispute between India and Pakistan at this moment, and it is likely to shape up the course of future diplomacy between the two countries. Politics and diplomacy are playing out at their best while the ICJ endeavours to adjudicate the case is the basis of international laws and conventions. It is said that diplomacy is the core for the resolution of issues. Pakistan also made mistake and failed in strong homework. It was thought that evidence and serious charges against the spy are enough but the reality is that today diplomacy influences all the decisions as we have seen in Yadav case as well as indo-Pak membership for NSG, where India has given special treatment.
Yadav’s case decision will definitely arouse many questions, doubts and facts in near future. In nut shell, India and Pakistan routinely accuse one another of sending spies into their countries, and it is not uncommon for either nation to expel diplomats accused of espionage, particularly at times of high tension. Similarly, spy war has also created huge tension and disturbed regional stability. Therefore, India should avoid proxy wars to maintain strategic stability in South Asia.
—The writer is associated with Strategic Vision Institute, a think-tank based in Islamabad.