India on Thursday called on Pakistan to address “core issues” that will allow former naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav to effectively challenge the death sentence given to him by a military court for alleged involvement in spying.
Earlier this week, India missed a second deadline set by the Islamabad high court to appoint a lawyer to Jadhav for filing the appeal. Islamabad has said he can be represented only by Pakistani lawyers whereas New Delhi has insisted on appointing an Indian lawyer or a Queen’s Counsel.
“We have said on a number of occasions that Pakistan has failed to respond on core issues pertaining to this case, and the core issues are provision of all documents related to the case and providing unimpeded, unconditional and unhindered consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav,” external affairs ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava told a weekly news briefing.
“These core issues need to be addressed if we have to have an effective review and reconsideration as ordered by the International Court of Justice (ICJ). I think Pakistan must show its intention to deliver on these core issues,” he said.
Pakistani legal experts believe the Islamabad high court will now name legal representatives to represent Jadhav for mounting the appeal against his death sentence.
A three-judge bench of the Islamabad high court that took up Jadhav’s case on Tuesday said it was “important to proceed with abundant caution” in view of the importance of the case, “particularly when the right to life and right to free trial” of Jadhav are involved.
After asking Pakistan’s attorney general to explain the scope of the obligation of “providing effective review and reconsideration” in line with the ICJ’s order staying Jadhav’s death sentence, the bench adjourned the case till November 9.
Jadhav was arrested on March 3, 2016 in Balochistan on charges of espionage, and sentenced to death by a military court the following year. India has rubbished the charges levelled against Jadhav and said he was kidnapped by Pakistani operatives from the Iranian port of Chabahar, where he was running a business.