The International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Thursday, prima facie accepted the jurisdiction in the Khulbushan Yadav case and granted a stay against the execution while the court hears the detailed case. As expected, the decision has elicited wildly differing reactions on both sides of the border, with the stay being treated as a political victory for India and a defeat for Pakistan.

In reality it is neither. The preliminary acceptance of jurisdiction does not prejudice the final decision, nor does it mean Pakistan cannot argue against jurisdiction in the future of the case – however, the nature of this case is such that even a perceived and momentary setback does not prevent criticism raining down at home on the government and it’s legal team.

For the most part, this criticism is unfounded and in the case of the opposition parties, politically motivated. While it is true that Pakistan did not appoint an ad hoc judge to the panel immediately and its legal team had little time to prepare, casting this failure as a collusion between the Prime Minister and India is highly irresponsible and plain wrong. As the international law stands it was highly likely that jurisdiction would have been accepted, as both Pakistan and India are signatory to the additional protocols of the Vienna Convention which deals with consular and embassy relations. Pakistan has always maintained the stance that bilateral issues should be solved by intervention of multilateral bodies, and completely ignoring the ICJ – as some critics have suggested – like India does in other matters would have contradicted that stance.

The fact of the matter is that the substantive issues of the case – Yadav’s spying, his supporting terrorism, his confession, and the 2008 bilateral agreement to deny consular access in matters of national security – still have to be heard by the court. India’s claim is based solely on the denial of consular access – which has also been criticised in hindsight at home – and the determination of the national security threat posed by Yadav is crucial in determining the propriety of Pakistan’s actions.

The Yadav case has become a flashpoint between the two countries and within them as well, but people at home would do well to remember that the ICJ has not declared anyone the victor yet. The hearings are a long process and preliminary rulings on jurisdiction do not affect the outcome. There is still a long way to go.