Pakistan coerced Kulbhushan Jadhav to refuse to file review petition: MEA

Kulbhushan Jadhav. File photo.

New Delhi (NVI): India today slammed Pakistan over its claims that Kulbhushan Jadhav, a former Navy officer who is on a death row on charges of espionage in 2016, has refused to review petition in his case.

The Ministry of external affairs said that Jadhav has been sentenced to execution through a “farcical trial”. The MEA’s reaction came hours after Pakistan said that Jadhav has refused to file a review petition and wants to proceed with his pending mercy petition.

Pakistan has also claimed that it has offered a second round of consular access to the 49-year-old Indian Navy officer, who was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of “espionage and terrorism” in April 2017.

Just weeks after the sentence, India had approached the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against Pakistan for denial of consular access to Jadhav and challenging the death sentence.

“Jadhav has been sentenced to execution through a farcical trial. He remains under custody of Pakistan’s military. He has clearly been coerced to refuse to file a review in his case,” MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said today in response to a question on the case.

“India sought unimpeded access to Shri Jadhav to discuss his remedies under the Ordinance. In a brazen attempt to scuttle even the inadequate remedy under the Ordinance, Pakistan has obviously coerced Shri Jadhav to forego his rights to seek implementation of the judgment of the ICJ,” Srivastava added.

The MEA spokesman further stated that Pakistan has on 20 May, 2020 passed an Ordinance to allow for the High Court to review the sentence awarded by their military court. They have all along maintained that their laws allowed for effective review and reconsideration while we have protested it all along, he said.

“Now, after almost a year, they have made a U-turn and issued an Ordinance to ostensibly provide for some sort of review. We have already expressed our serious concerns at the content of the Ordinance and how it violates the ICJ judgment. Pakistan is only seeking to create an illusion of remedy,” he added.

Despite our repeated requests, Pakistan continues to deny India free and unimpeded access to Shri Jadhav, Srivastava said. “India has repeatedly asked to allow a lawyer from outside Pakistan to appear for Shri Jadhav in any review and reconsideration proceedings. Pakistan has denied it. Since 2017, when Military Court carried out a farcical trial, Pakistan has refused to hand over any relevant document, including FIR, evidence, court order, etc in the case to India. Clearly, Pakistan is attempting to create a mirage of compliance with the ICJ judgment.

ICJ has already held that Pakistan is in egregious violation of international law,” he said during the weekly MEA briefing.

“Government will do its utmost to protect Shri Jadhav and ensure his safe return to India. To that end, it would consider all appropriate options,” he added.

-ARK