The Opposition staged a walkout during a National Assembly session on Thursday protesting the International Court of Justice (Review and Reconsideration) Ordinance 2020 promulgated by the federal government in May in view of the ICJ judgement pertaining to the case of the Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav.
The government presented the ordinance before the lower house amid backlash from the other side of the aisle. The assembly session ended as Pakistan Peoples Party Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari pointed out the lack of quorum while concluding his speech. The quorum was found incomplete and the session was deferred.
During his speech, Bilawal demanded that a new accountability institution be set up which can hold the government, the opposition, the judiciary and the military accountable. He maintained that his conscience would not permit him to support the ordinance.
After pointing out the lack of quorum, Bilawal walked out of the session at which the government aisle erupted with slogans calling him back to the lower house. Government lawmakers shouted ‘Bilawal ko wapis bolayein, bachay ko bolayein [Call Bilawal back, call the child back]’.
Prior to this, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) stalwart Khawaja Muhammad Asif accused the government of being Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘friend’ and claimed that the Centre was facilitating the Indian spy under international pressure.
He maintained that the ordinance was unacceptable to the Opposition and held that Kulbhushan is an enemy of the country. “Who is squandering Pakistan’s honour now,” he asked of the prime minister. “Who is prostrating before them today,” he asked while asking why the Indian spy was being facilitated.
Federal Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari began her speech amid a cacophony of slogans by the Opposition which shouted ‘Modi ka jo yaar hai, gaddar hai gaddar hai [Those who are Modi’s friend, they are traitors]’. She was left pleading to be heard as the Opposition walked out during her speech.
In July last year, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) had asked Pakistan for an “effective review and reconsideration of the conviction and sentence of Jadhav” so as to ensure that full weight was given to the effect of the violation of the rights set forth in Article 36, Paragraph 1, of the Vienna Convention and guarantee that the violation and the possible prejudice caused by the violation were fully examined.
The international court had also maintained a stay on the execution of Jadhav till “effective review”.
In view of the ICJ judgment, the federal government had promulgated the International Court of Justice (Review and Reconsideration) Ordinance, 2020 on May 20 for an effective review of the case.