New Delhi: Even as India rejoices over the International Court of Justice’s (ICJ) verdict on Kulbhushan Jadhav, his family is being cautious. While they’re happy with the effort put in, they would rather see him come back first before they celebrate. (Also read: ‘Pakistan’s Language in Court Was Unfortunate, my Upbringing Stood in Way,’ Says Harish Salve)

On Wednesday, the ICJ put aside Pakistan’s death sentence on Jadhav and asked the country for a review. Jadhav’s uncle, retired ACP Subhash Jadhav, told a leading daily over the phone, “While we are happy with the efforts put in by the Indian government, we want to see Kulbhushan come out alive from Pakistan. Till that does not happen, the fear will remain.”

Kulbhushan’s friends in the NM Joshi area, where he spent his childhood, were in a celebratory mood. They released balloons and distributed sweets. His friend, Arvind Singh, told the daily, “I believe that prayers of the countrymen helped swing the decision in our favour. We know people across the country had been praying in temples and mosques for his release.”

He said, “Pakistan has been exposed and they have a chance to redeem themselves. They should release him at the earliest.” Another friend said they always knew the Indian side was speaking the truth and that’s why they had arranged for balloons. They also wanted to release pigeons but couldn’t arrange for the same.

However, ACP Jadhav is right in that the ICJ has not set Kulbhushan free. It has called for a review and now it is upon Pakistan to show if it follows a process that’s fair.

Another friend, Vandana Pawar, agrees with Jadhav. She said while the decision was good, she wasn’t so sure about Pakistan’s acceptance of the verdict. “Till the time we don’t see him, there will be some fear.”

They had all organised a TV set so that all of Kulbhushan’s friends could watch the verdict together.

Kulbhushan is a retired Indian Navy officer who was arrested by Pakistan on March 3, 2016. While Pakistan claims he was an Indian spy, India has maintained that Kulbhushan was abducted in Iran.

In 2017, a Pakistani military court held him guilty of espionage and sentenced him to death.

Reading out the verdict, President of the ICJ Judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf ordered an “effective review and reconsideration of the conviction and sentence of Mr Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav”.

This means that Kulbhushan’s death sentence will be on stay till the case and conviction are reviewed following diplomatic assistance to him.