ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Thursday said that a third consular access to death-row Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav was still valid.

Speaking at a weekly news briefing here, Foreign Office Spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri urged India to move forward and cooperate with the courts of Pakistan.

The FO spokesperson said Pakistan was committed to fully implement the international court of justice judgment in Kulbushan Jadhav case and provide consular access to Indian spy.

During the second consular visit, Indian diplomats left without meeting Jadhav, he said, adding Pakistan s offer of a “third consular access is still valid.”

He said Pakistan was aware of its responsibilities on combating terrorism. “The FATF (Financial Action Task Force) issue should be resolved on technical rather than political grounds.

On the situation in Occupied Kashmir, he said that Indian forces used force on Muharram processions and mourners. “Pakistan strongly condemns such moves and war crimes in occupied Kashmir by Indian forces,” he added.

He said that India was pressuring for the introduction of Hindi language in occupied Kashmir. The international community should take note of these illegal actions.

The spokesperson regretted that some members of the Security Council Sections Committee blocked the ban on two Indian nationals. “Pakistan has always insisted on depoliticizing the issue of UN sections. Angara Appaji and Gobind Patnaik are wanted by Pakistan for terrorism,” he said.

Chaudhri said that Pakistan has provided documentary evidence to the UN sections committee and will continue to expose Indian-sponsored terrorism.

The spokesperson said Pakistan will continue to expose Indian support for terrorist entities. He said condemnable decision is part of Indian regime’s designs to deprive the Kashmiri people of their distinct culture and identity.

He said the international community must take cognizance of the series of illegal decisions and act to protect human rights of the Kashmiri people.

The government of India is in clear violation of the United Nations’ Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials and the UN Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials, he said.

 “No illegal Acts, such as the Armed Forces Special Powers Act and Public Safety Act, can provide a legal cover to a crime recognized as such by international law,” he said.

The spokesperson said international community must take cognizance of the series of illegal Indian decisions and actions taken since August 5, 2019 and act in support of the human rights of the Kashmiri people.

Pakistan is also deeply concerned at the worsening human rights situation and treatment of minorities in India under the BJP’s “Hindutva” inspired regime.

The findings of Amnesty International’s Investigative Briefing of 28 August 2020, has documented serious and systemic human rights violations committed by Delhi police during the February 2020 Delhi riots.  These findings are both worrisome and challenging for the collective conscience of the international community.

 “The violations documented by Amnesty International field investigation include Delhi police officers indulging in violence with the rioters; torturing in custody; using excessive force on protesters; dismantling protest sites used by peaceful protesters and being mute bystanders as rioters wreaked havoc,” he added.

He said Afghanistan had been asked not allow use of its soil; against Pakistan. “The foreign ministers held talks today (over the telephone). We are committed to peace in Afghanistan,” he maintained.

Regarding the recent Islamophobic instances of this week, he said, “Pakistan strongly condemns the incidents of desecration of Holy Quran in Malmo Sweden & Oslo Norway and the decision by the French satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, to reprint deeply offensive caricature of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).”

He added: “Such deliberate acts to offend the sentiments of over a billion Muslims around the world cannot be justified as an exercise in press freedom or freedom of expression.”

He said such actions undermine the global aspirations for peaceful co-existence as well as social and inter-faith harmony. “Pakistan will continue raising the issue and underscoring the need for respect for all religious beliefs and inter-faith harmony,” the spokesperson said.

 

 

IHC asks govt to give another opportunity to Indian spy against death sentence

 

A larger bench of Islamabad High Court (IHC) Thursday asked the government to extend another opportunity to the Government of India to consider taking appropriate measures for appointment of a lawyer for filing a review petition against the death sentence of Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav.

The special larger bench of IHC comprising Chief Justice of IHC Justice Athar Minallah, Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb conducted hearing of the government’s plea seeking the appointment of a legal representative for Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav for filing his review petition against his death sentence.

 During the hearing, the Attorney General for Pakistan Khalid Javed Khan informed the court that the officials had met Commander Jadhav in compliance with the direction given by the court on the previous hearing and the Indian spy was given a detailed briefing, particularly regarding his right to avail the statutory remedy provided under the International Court of Justice (Review and Reconsideration) Ordinance, 2020.

The AGP stated that he was also informed regarding the judgment of the International Court of Justice and his rights under Article 36 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. According to Attorney General, he was informed by the officials of the Government of Pakistan that Commander Jadhav had reiterated his earlier stance and had preferred to pursue the remedy of clemency instead of invoking his right under the Ordinance of 2020.

Khalid further informed the court that the Government of the Republic of India was duly informed regarding the proceedings of this Court held on 03-08-2020, but the latter’s response was awaited.

The court also enquired from the IHC Registrar whether an enrolled counsel had filed a power of attorney on behalf of the Government of India and the response was in the negative.

The IHC bench noted in its order that the Government of Pakistan, in order to meet its obligations regarding giving effect to the judgment of the International Court, pronounced on July 17, 2019, had specifically promulgated the Ordinance of 2020.

It added, “The proceedings before us are aimed at ensuring that the judgment of the International Court is given effect. We are mindful of the emphasis laid down by the International Court, in its judgment, relating to the need for the review and reconsideration to be effective.”

 “We are of the opinion that these proceedings and judicial review, on the basis of the judgment of the International Court, may not be meaningful and effective if Commander Jadhav and the Government of India decide not to exercise the course of action highlighted in the judgment of the International Court,” observed the court.

The court stated that protecting the right to a fair trial of Commander Jadhav was of paramount importance to ensure that the review and reconsideration was not only effective but was also seen to be such. It further said, “We have no reason to doubt, as stated by the learned Attorney General, that the officials of the Government of Pakistan have complied with our direction by informing Commander Jadhav regarding his right to a fair trial and his rights under Article 36 of the Convention.”

The IHC bench maintained that it was unquestionable that the right to a fair trial was the foundation of the rule of law and our criminal justice system. “The essence of fair trial is to assure to every party that he or she will be treated fairly and justly by a judicial forum, which is impartial and independent. Commander Jadhav is the most crucial stakeholder followed by the Government of India,” the court said.

It continued that the judgment of the International Court did not contemplate proceedings for review and reconsideration if Commander Jadhav and / or the Government of India were not inclined or willing to avail the remedy specifically provided through the enactment of the Ordinance of 2020.

 “It appears to us that the effectiveness of these proceedings are dependent on the willingness of Commander Jadhav and the Government of India to avail the statutory remedy provided under the Ordinance of 2020. If both choose to distance themselves from these proceedings, then questions would arise regarding the validity of the petition filed by the Government of Pakistan under the Ordinance of 2020 and the status of compliance with the judgment of the International Court,” ruled the bench.

It further said that the choice of means was left to be decided by the Government of Pakistan and the latter, in compliance, has enacted the Ordinance of 2020. The obligation of the Government of Pakistan, prima-facie, appears to be confined to “providing” effective review and reconsideration.

The court observed, “What if Commander Jadhav, exercising free will, or the Government of India decides not to pursue the statutory remedy provided for review and reconsideration? What then would be the status of compliance with the judgment of the International Court?”

It said, “In order to remove any doubt, and to fulfill the requirements of a fair trial, we feel that another opportunity ought to be extended to the Government of India to consider taking appropriate measures so as to ensure effective compliance with the judgment of the International Court.

The IHC bench added that it was also important to give an assurance to Commander Jadhav that his rights, particularly the right to a fair trial, was an integral factor of an effective review and reconsideration for a meaningful compliance with the judgment of the International Court. “We, therefore, yet again restrain ourselves from proceeding in the matter in hand,” added the court.

To ensure effective review and reconsideration so as to give effect to the judgment of the International Court, the IHC bench directed that the Attorney General should ensure that copy of this order was provided to Commander Jadhav, the Government of Pakistan should once again convey the orders passed in this petition to the Government of India to enable the latter to consider taking appropriate measures in order to ensure compliance with the judgment of the International Court and the Registrar of this Court should send to the learned amici curiae, appointed vide our last order, copies of the petition and documents placed on the record while they were expected to assist the court on the status of compliance with the judgment of the International Court in the event that Commander Jadhav or the Government of India decided against availing the remedy provided under the Ordinance of 2020.

Later, the court deferred hearing in this matter till October 6 for further proceedings.