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ICJ likely to announce its verdict on Indian spy Kulbhushan case next month

ISLAMABAD: The International Court of Justice (ICJ) is likely to announce its verdict on Kulbhushan Jadhav case next month.

The Express Tribune newspapers while quoting unnamed sources reported that International Court of Justice (ICJ) judges have also completed deliberations on the case of Kulbhushan Jadhav – the Indian spy Pakistan arrested in Balochistan and sentenced to death in connection to various terror and sabotage activities – and may announce a verdict next month.

The report said that although there is no official confirmation that ICJ judges have finished deliberating, legal experts believe the international court will end up rejecting New Delhi’s plea for the spy to be handed over.

At the same time, they say it is likely Pakistan will be instructed to grant India consular access to Jadhav. Whatever the case, it would be the first time an ICJ judges panel will give a ruling on a matter pertaining to consular access to a spy.

Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav was arrested in the Pakistani province of Balochistan on charges of terrorism and spying for India’s intelligence agency, the Research and Analysis Wing.

At the time of arrest, Kulbhushan was a serving commander in the Indian Navy who was involved in subversive activities inside Pakistan and was arrested on 3 March 2016 during a counter-intelligence operation in Balochistan.

The Indian government recognised Jadhav as a former naval officer but denied any current links with him and maintained that he took premature retirement and was abducted from Iran.

On 10 April 2017, Jadhav was sentenced to death by a Field General Court Martial in Pakistan.

India accused Pakistan for denying consular access to Jadhav despite several requests. Pakistan, it was said, had also not informed India about Jadhav’s trial. As of 2 July 2017, the number of denied consular access stood at 18.

Following the sentencing, the government of India summoned Pakistani High Commissioner to India, Abdul Basit and issued a demarche stating that the proceedings that led to Jadhav’s sentencing were farcical and that India would regard Jadhav’s execution as murder in the first degree.

In May 2017, India approached the International Court of Justice (ICJ), asserting that Pakistani authorities were denying India its right of consular access to Jadhav in violation of Vienna Convention.

The ICJ proceedings began in The Hague on 15 May to review the case. India and Pakistan both sent their legal teams to put forward their arguments, led by Harish Salve and Khawar Qureshi respectively. On 18 May 2017, the International Court of Justice stayed the hanging of Jadhav.