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Legislation on Kulbhushan Jadhav aimed at fully implementing ICJ verdict: Pakistan

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Pakistan said on Thursday that a recent legislation passed in the National Assembly to provide the right of appeal to Indian death-row prisoner Kulbhushan Jadhav was aimed at fully implementing the verdict of the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

The Hague-based ICJ ruled in July 2019 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.

India on Thursday asked Pakistan to address the “shortcomings” in the bill brought out to facilitate reviewing the case of Jadhav, saying the proposed law does not create a mechanism to reconsider it as mandated by the ICJ.

Spokesperson in the Ministry of External Affairs Arindam Bagchi in New Delhi said the Review and Reconsideration Bill 2020 does not create a mechanism to facilitate effective review and reconsideration of Jadhav’s case as mandated by the ICJ judgement.

He added that municipal courts cannot be the arbiter of whether a state has fulfilled its obligations in international law.

Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhry was asked at the weekly media briefing in Islamabad about the bill passed by the National Assembly last week to allow Jadhav to file a review against his sentence.

He said the legislative measures taken by Pakistan are “only aimed at giving full effect to the judgment of the ICJ.”

“The legislation or its purpose should not be, in any way, misconstrued,” Chaudhry said, adding that Pakistan abides by all its international obligations, including the ICJ judgment in Jadhav case.

On Tuesday, the Islamabad High Court adjourned the hearing of the federal government’s plea to appoint counsel for Jadhav till October 5 at the request of the Attorney General for Pakistan Khalid Javed Khan, according to Pakistani media reports.

Jadhav, a 50-year-old retired Indian Navy officer, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of espionage and terrorism in April 2017. India approached the ICJ against Pakistan for denial of consular access to Jadhav and challenging the death sentence.

To a question about the Ministry of External Affairs saying that Pakistan was making an attempt to “malign India” on the issue of uranium, Chaudhry claimed that the incident took place in India and was reported by its own media.

He asked India to thoroughly investigate the matter in a “credible and transparent” manner.

About a question regarding reconciliation with India, Chaudhry said Pakistan consistently maintained that it wants peaceful relations with all its neighbours including India but for normalisation of relations with India, resolution of the long standing disputes, particularly the core issue of the Jammu and Kashmir, is critical.

“The onus is on India to create an enabling environment for a meaningful engagement,” he said.

India has told Pakistan that it desires normal neighbourly relations with Islamabad in an environment free of terror, hostility and violence.

Chaudhry also said that the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) plenary meeting was scheduled in the last week of June which would review the progress made by Pakistan under the FATF Action Plan and subsequently announce its decision.

“Pakistan has made significant strides during implementation of the Action Plan through concerted national efforts. The tremendous progress made by Pakistan leading toward the conclusion of the Action Plan has been acknowledged by FATF as well as the larger international community,” he said.

Chaudhry said that without prejudging the outcome of the upcoming plenary meeting, “we would like to reaffirm our commitment to further strengthen our AML/CFT regime to align it with international standards and fulfill our international obligations.”

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