Islamabad, May 19: Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif drew flak within the political circles of the nation for allegedly mishandling the case involving Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav at the International Court of Justice (ICJ). The Sharif-led government was accused of being ill-prepared to tackle the Indian application seeking the annulment of Kulbhushan’s death penalty. Questions were also raised at the government’s decision to allow ICJ’s jurisdiction in the matter.
The Pakistan People’s Party of Asif Ali Zardari and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf of Imran Khan, among major opposition parties, have demanded Sharif to explain the ‘fiasco’ at ICJ in the Parliament. According to senior PPP Senator Sherry Rehman, Islamabad made the first major mistake by sending a “weak counsel” at The Hague.
“Pakistan did not even send a good team for defence despite having a good case,” Sherry said, further adding that India was ‘way well prepared’ to achieve its goal at the international court. The decision went in New Delhi’s favour as the they deputed a top official for the job, she pointed out.
Sherry also demanded the Pakistani PM to reveal why the team of counsel led by Khawar Qureshi argued for only 50 minutes, despite being allocated 90 minutes by the 15-judge bench at ICJ.
Taking the attack against Sharif to another level, the PTI accused the Pakistani PM of sabotaging the case in favour of India. The prime opposition party has demanded Sharif to disclose the details of his recent meeting with Indian steel tycoon Sajjan Jindal. “The Prime Minister should disclose before the public the details of his covert meeting with Jindal, and give an explanation before the Parliament,” said PTI spokesperson Shafqat Mehmood.
The political mudslinging began in Pakistan on Thursday, after the ICJ bench ruled in India’s favour, staying the execution of Kulbhushan till the final verdict is released by The Hague-based court. Pakistan was instructed to “ensure” Kulbhushan is not executed even after his clemency period concludes in August.
However, Pakistan’s legal stand remained unmoved following the ICJ verdict. Islamabad’s Attorney General Ashtar Ausaf Ali said the order of international court is not binding upon anyone. India was quick to react to his assertion. “The ICJ order is legally binding upon all parties involved. Pakistan should read it carefully,” said Indian Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Gopal Bagley.
Kulbhushan was arrested by Pakistan in March last year. He was apprehended from the restive region of Balochistan, says Islamabad. However, the claim was challenged by India, accusing the Pakistan’s Inter-State Intelligence (ISI) of kidnapping Kulbhushan from Iran’s Chabahar port.
In the past month, Kulbhushan was sentenced to death by Pakistan’s Field General Court Martial, convicting him for terrorism and espionage under the Official Secrets Act, 1929. In a bid to annul the death penalty imposed against Kulbhushan, India moved the ICJ on May 8.