By Shumaila Andleeb
ISLAMABAD, Feb 17 (APP):Pakistan and India are set to fight their legal battle in Kulbhushan Jadhav case as the International Court of Justice (ICJ) begins its four-day public hearing on Monday at The Hague, Netherlands.
ICJ – the principal judicial organ of the United Nations – is scheduled to hear the first round of oral arguments from India on February 18 at 2 pm to 5 pm Pakistan Standard Time (PST) and from Pakistan at the same timings the next day.
The second round of oral arguments will resume for India on February 20 at 6 pm to 7.30 pm PST while Pakistan will present arguments on February 21 at 7.30 pm to 9 pm PST.
“Pakistan has gathered strong facts to be presented as arguments before the court to contest the Indian objections,” Foreign Office Spokesman Mohammed Faisal, who is representing Pakistan as Co-Agent in Jadhav case, spoke to APP from The Hague on telephone on Sunday.
Mohammad Faisal said Indian Navy’s serving Commander Kulbhushan Jadhav had confessed before the judicial magistrate for involvement in spy activities linking to terrorism and sabotage in Pakistan.
“This is the manifestation of Indian state involvement in Pakistan’s terrorism-related incidents and Pakistan wants to sentence the culprit in accordance with the law of land,” he said.
Mohammad Faisal said at the Peace Palace – the seat of the Court, English Queen’s Counsel Barrister Khawar Qureshi would present arguments from the Pakistan side while Attorney General Anwar Mansoor as Agent would lead the country’s delegation.
When asked whether Pakistan would raise objection with regard to the ICT’s jurisdiction over the matter, Faisal said he could not reveal anything in that regard as it was a legal argument. However, he added, that details would be made public in a day following the live hearing sessions.
“As the hearing concludes on February 21, judges will take up to two to three months to write the ruling and later issue a verdict after consultation at some time this summer, which cannot be further appealed,” he said.
It is pertinent to mention that former Chief Justice of Pakistan Tassaduq Hussain Jillani will sit in the panel as Judge Ad hoc, earlier appointed by the Government of Pakistan in October 2017 for the Jadhav case. Ad hoc judges are appointed in a case where the state has no representation in the regular panel of judges.
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi last week had stated that the legal team of Pakistan was fully prepared to present arguments in the Jadhav case. He also mentioned that Jadhav had confessed his involvement in subversive activities in Pakistan.
Pakistan has maintained that responsibility to punish terrorists lay with the states and it is beyond the jurisdiction of ICJ to hear this case. It has also raised questions regarding the authenticity of Indian passport of Jadhav who traveled 17 times to India with his cover name as Hussein Mubarik Patel.
Jadhav was arrested on March 3, 2016 in a counter-intelligence operation from Balochistan’s Mashkel area. India on May 9, 2017 had invoked the jurisdiction of ICJ following the death sentence of Jadhav announced by Pakistan’s military court on charges of espionage and sabotage activities in Karachi and Balochistan.