Mohammad Jamil


KHAWAR Qureshi, Counsellor for Kulbhushan Jadhav (KBJ) case had made his presentation before International Court of Justice, which was admired by all and sundry. The ICJ will announce the verdict tomorrow (17 July 2019) and Pakistan has in principle decided to accept the verdict. It is hoped that ICJ would keep it in mind that KBJ was not only a spy but also a mastermind of terrorism; therefore Consular access was not applicable to a spy and a saboteur involved in dreadful terrorist activities. Pakistani lawyer gave references of historical court decisions of the past and international law that spy and espionage cases are not granted Consular access. It has to be mentioned that India is the first country in the 60 years history of ICJ that demands such a concession from the court in the light of Vienna Convention.
Any such concession, if provided, it could only be as per the Customary National Laws or Mutual Bilateral Agreements between both the countries since Pakistan and India have bilateral treaties of 1982 and 2008, and not by ICJ. Supposedly, if it is accepted that Consular access can be given as per Vienna Convention, even then neither Pakistan is obliged to release him, nor will it render the trial redundant. India’s influence over ICJ could be observed whereby India had been able to succeed in persuading the court to restrain Pakistan from executing KBJ till final verdict. India must have tried to influence the case in the final verdict against Pakistan ie provision of Consular access. India did not accept till May 2017 that KBJ was an Indian citizen; thus prior to claiming Consular access, India had to establish that he was an Indian citizen.
Khawar Qureshi, Counsellor for KBJ case in ICJ along with his team represented Pakistan on the hearing of KBJ case in February 2019. He highlighted involvement of KBJ in espionage and sabotage activities in Pakistan, and that he was also involved in killings of innocent Pakistanis and causing economic loss through espionage activities. According to his confessional statement, KBJ was a serving officer of Indian Navy when arrested from Balochistan, but India claimed that he had retired. However, India could not produce evidence of his retirement. Being a terrorist, his case did not fall under Vienna Convention; therefore Consular access was not granted; nevertheless, his meeting with family was allowed purely on humanitarian grounds without any pressure. Instead of appreciating Pakistan’s gesture, India concocted story of ill-treatment to his family members, which was condemned by the independent and neutral observers.
It will be appropriate to give timeline of the case. On 8 May 2017, India moved a petition in the UN seeking justice for Jadhav alleging that refusal of Pakistan to allow Consular access was egregious violation of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations by Pakistan. On 9 May 2017, the ICJ put a stay on the death sentence given by Pakistan to Kulbhushan Jadhav after an appeal from India. On 15 May 2017, the ICJ heard the case of Kulbhushan Jadhav when India and Pakistan presented their arguments in the trial. Earlier, in its arguments before the court on May 15, India had expressed its fear that Pakistan could execute Jadhav even before the court gave its verdict. On May 18, the UN top court asked Pakistan to not execute Jadhav before they decide the case in the final hearing to start from 18th February 2019.
It has to be mentioned that Kalbushan Jhadev, alias Hussain Mubarak Patel, serving Commander of Indian Navy and working with Indian Intelligence Agency RAW was apprehended on 3 March 2016 after he illegally crossed over into Pakistan from the Pakistan-Iran border. He was found in possession of an Indian passport issued by Government of India on May 12, 2015 and valid until May 11, 2024. He had confessed before a Magistrate and the Court stating that “he is a resident of Mumbai, India; works for RAW and still serving in Navy, and his retirement is due in 2022.” He also confessed that he was tasked by the RAW to plan, coordinate and organize espionage and sabotage activities aimed at destabilizing and waging war against Pakistan resulting in loss of many lives and damage to property. A six-minute video of his confession was released on 29 March 2016.
Details of his terrorist activities included sponsoring and directing IEDs and grenade attacks in Gwadar and Turbat; attacks on the Radar station and civilian boats in the sea opposite Jiwani Port; funding subversive secessionist and terrorist elements through Hawala/Hundi for stirring subversive activities against the country, especially in Balochistan; sponsored explosions of gas pipelines/electric pylons in Sibi/Sui area in Balochistan; IED explosions in Quetta in 2015, causing massive damage to life and property; attacks on Hazaras in Quetta and Shia Zaireen en route to and back from Iran; and abetted anti-state elements in attacks against LEAs/FC and FWO in areas of Turbat, Punjgur, Gwadar, Pasni and Jiwani. It was against this backdrop that he had been tried in a fully transparent manner by the Field General Court Martial (FGCM) under section 59 of Pakistan Army Act (PAA) 1952 and Section 3 of Official Secret Act of 1923.
—The writer is a senior journalist based in Lahore.