Jadhav case: Pak Attorney General to plead country's case at ICJ

Islamabad
20 May 2017

Pakistan's Attorney General Ashtar Ausaf Ali will plead Pakistan's case at the International Court of Justice against Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav.

The development came after the Pakistan Foreign Office was criticised for its "poor handling" of the case and for its choice of Britain-based Khawar Qureshi as counsel. The ICJ on May 18 stayed the execution of Jadhav. The Attorney General said the country's defence against India s case before the ICJ was prepared by the government in consultation with all stakeholders, including the military establishment, Geo TV reported. Ali also dismissed criticism on why Pakistan accepted the global court's jurisdiction.

Referring to the Pakistan's March 2017 declaration in relation to the jurisdiction of the ICJ, Ausaf said that the ongoing propaganda on the issue was misplaced. "The correct position is that Pakistan had signed off to an unconditional declaration to agree to the jurisdiction of the ICJ way back in September 1960. In March 2017, we made a declaration of exceptions reservations, and conditions," the Attorney General said. He said that the original -- 1960 declaration -- was without reservations and exceptions. Pakistan prior to March 2017 had signed up to an ipso facto (by the fact itself) compulsory jurisdiction of the ICJ.

"We had become signatory to a declaration of submission to jurisdiction without any exceptions in September 1960."
In March 2017, he said, Pakistan created the firewalls, including the one relating to the security of Pakistan for the first time. He explained that in the present case, the ICJ is not looking at this aspect of the matter. "They are looking at the Vienna Convention and the optional protocol to the convention. India and Pakistan both are signatories to this. The optional protocol invests the ICJ with powers and jurisdiction to decide disputes between member states."

"If we were to withdraw this declaration, we would have to go back to 1960 declaration which gives jurisdiction without exceptions," he maintained. The TV channel also reported that Qureshi was paid 50,000 pounds for the case. However, the Indian lawyer charged only one Indian rupee for his services. Meanwhile, Sartaj Aziz, Pakistan Prime Minister's advisor on foreign affairs, today said the ICJ has not given any order regarding consular access for Kulbhushan Jadhav who has been sentenced to death according to the laws of Pakistan. "The ICJ has only asked Pakistan to keep a stay on Jadhav's execution until it arrives at a decision", Aziz said. Addressing a press conference here, Aziz said that when it comes to cases involving the death penalty, the international court has always given a stay order. He said the ICJ has not decided on consular access either and has only intimated that the matter will come under discussion.