The International Court of Justice’s (ICJ) hearing on Yadav’s case began on Monday and initially it will focus on India’s request for so-called “provisional measures” that can be granted at short notice to ensure a dispute between states does not deteriorate during full ICJ proceedings, which typically take several years. Both nations have sent high-powered legal teams and the public hearings are expected to draw much attention in both countries as the grounds are set for a showdown.

It must be noted that after these initial hearings, when Pakistan has presented its arguments for the first time that any provisional measure can be suggested, which contradicts the Indian version of events where a “stay” had already been ordered.

The Pakistani legal team in the meanwhile has decided to “aggressively pursue” the case. We do not yet know what exact stance it will take during the main hearings, but this case presents a wide array of issues that could be prospectively argued. What we do know is that it plans to bring up India’s refusal to allow ICJ to claim jurisdiction in disputes in Kashmir, and other human rights violations in the valley. While not directly related to the spying row, these incidents have bearing on the matter of jurisdiction.

Which is the first major issue in the case, hearings on preliminary matters does not mean the court has jurisdiction to hear the case; that decision will be made by the ICJ later. With India having restricted the jurisdiction of ICJ in disputes with the Commonwealth nations and Pakistan having done the same to an extent, the question over jurisdiction is up in the air. Which explains why India has appealed under the Vienna Convention – to whose Optional Protocol on Consular Relations of 1963 both Pakistan and India are signatory – claiming that consular access has been denied.

However consular access is another contentious issue, with a 2008 bilateral agreement between the nations deciding to deny consular access in matters related to national security. This is not a simple criminal charge, but a trial on international espionage and sabotage – automatic consular access is not guaranteed.

This brings us to the main debate; where Pakistan need not be worried overmuch. Yadav was tried by a competent court, given access to legal resources and convicted based on valid national law. There is ample evidence – his two passports under different names and his detailed and public video confession – which prove his guilt. Furthermore not all domestic legal options have been exhausted; he still has the right to appeal to the Supreme Court if he wishes. Even if the ICJ accepts jurisdiction, Pakistan has a strong case going forward.