Islamabad: Pakistan on Thursday once again rejected India’s demand that an Indian lawyer or a Queen’s counsel should be appointed for death-row prisoner Kulbhushan Jadhav to ensure a free and fair trial in the review of his death sentence in this country.
“We have repeatedly told them that only those lawyers can represent Commander Jadhav in the Court who have the license to practice law in Pakistan. This is in accordance with legal practice in other jurisdictions as well, Foreign Office spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri said while replying to a question during his weekly press briefing here.
He further said that the Indian Supreme Court, in one of its judgments, has also ruled that foreign lawyers cannot practice law within the country.
India’s Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava last month said the government of Pakistan has not been able to fulfil its obligations on implementation of the ICJ judgment in letter and spirit.
“It has not yet addressed the core issues, which include provision of all documents related to the case, providing unconditional and unimpeded consular access to Kulbhusan Jadhav and appointment of an Indian lawyer or a Queen’s counsel to ensure a free and fair trial,” he said.
Queen’s Counsel is a barrister or advocate, appointed Counsel to the UK Crown on the recommendation of the Lord Chancellor.
Last month, the Islamabad High Court directed the Pakistan government to give India another chance to appoint a lawyer to represent Jadhav and adjourned hearing for a month.
Pakistan’s Parliament last month extended for four months an ordinance that allowed Jadhav to file an appeal against his conviction in a high court as required by the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
Responding to a question on Pakistan’s offer of arranging a meeting of Jadav with his father and wife, Chaudhri said the offer “remains valid.
“However, we have not received any response from the Indian side as yet, he added.
In 2017, India approached the ICJ against Pakistan for denial of consular access to Jadhav and challenging the death sentence handed to him by a military court.
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 has slammed Pakistan for adopting a “farcical” approach in denying available legal remedies to Jadhav against his death sentence in contravention of the ICJ order.
Fifty-year-old retired Indian Navy officer Jadhav was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of espionage and terrorism in April 2017.
During the briefing, Chaudhri also said that Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has once again written to the President of the UN Security Council, raising the Kashmir issue.
Pakistan has been unsuccessfully trying to drum up international support against India for withdrawing Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and bifurcating it into two Union territories.
India has categorically told the international community that the scrapping of Article 370 was its internal matter. It also advised Pakistan to accept the reality and stop all anti-India propaganda.