Hague: Tomorrow will seal the fate of Indian citizen Kulbhushan Jadhav who is languishing in a Pakistani jail after being sentenced to death in an espionage case. The International Court of Justice (ICJ) at Hague, Netherlands, is all set to deliver its verdict in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case between India and Pakistan. The verdict will be delivered after hearing starts at 6.30 pm Indian time.
The verdict will be announced by Judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf, who is the president of the ICJ.
Kulbhushan Jadhav, a retired Navy officer, was kidnapped from Iran by the Pakistani secret service. He was accused of espionage and awarded the death sentence by a Pakistani military court. He was convicted in April, 2017.
India approached the ICJ and complained that Pakistan did not allow consular access to Jadhav in blatant violation of international laws. The Indian side maintained that the trial of Kulbhushan Jadhav was farcical by a military court.
The ICJ on India’s petition stayed the execution of Jadhav on 18 May, 2017, and asked Pakistan not to execute the Indian citizen till the matter was decided.
This February, the ICJ witnessed a four day hearing in which both the Indian and Pakistani sides presented their arguments. The Indian side was presented by former Solicitor General, Harish Salve.
India presented a strong case in support of Kulbhushan Jadhav and said that the Islamic country did not allow consular access to Jadhav as per international norms and treaties.
Harish Salve maintained that the court that pronounced the death sentence did not even meet the minimum due standards and demanded the Indian citizen be released soon. He said that the military court’s proceedings were opaque and against international norms.
He said that these Pakistani courts have sentenced 161 civilians in opaque proceedings in the past two years. He told the court, “Jadhav’s trial by a military court hopelessly fails to satisfy even minimum standards of due process and should be declared unlawful.”
However, the Pakistani side kept on claiming that Jadhav is a spy and was arrested from Balochistan for indulging in espionage. The Pakistanis have been accusing India for igniting tensions in the Balochistan province for a long time.
In December, 2017, Pakistan finally allowed Jadhav’s family to meet with him. As per that his mother and wife travelled to a Islamabad to meet him. However, the Pakistani authorities created an intimidating atmosphere for the mother and wife to meet Jadhav. He was separated from them by a glass screen.
The mother and wife were stripped searched, their mangal sutras and bangles removed and even their bindhi not allowed. They were also told to change their dresses when such kinds of security measures were not at all needed.
After years of captivity and harassment and torture, Indians are praying for a happy ending of Kulbhushan Jadhav’s safe return home. Every eyes will be at Hague tomorrow when the judge will pronounce the verdict. Will justice prevail for the Indian citizen?