New Delhi: Amid the heightened tensions between India and Pakistan in the wake of the dastardly terror attack in Pulwama, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) is set to hear the arguments of top lawyers of the two countries in the high-profile Kulbhushan Jadhav case.
The ICJ at The Hague, Netherlands, is expected to begin the hearing at around 2:30 PM (IST).
Jadhav, 48, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of espionage and terrorism in April 2017. India moved the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in May the same year against the verdict.
A 10-member bench of the ICJ on May 18, 2017, had restrained Pakistan from executing Jadhav till adjudication of the case.
India is likely to ask the UN’s top court to give consular access to Jadhav, a former Indian Navy official.
New Delhi is expected to push its point that Pakistan has been breaking international rules and human rights laws. While India will argue on Monday, Pakistan will make submissions on February 19. India will then reply on February 20 and Pakistan will make its closing submissions on February 21.
The International Court of Justice, the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, will hold public hearings in the Jadhav case from Monday 18 to Thursday 21 February, 2019, according to the ICJ website.
A day ahead of the hearing, Pakistan accused India of not accepting that Jadhav was in Pakistan to “perpetrate violence”.
In a statement, the neighbouring country’s Foreign Office (FO) said that India blaming Pakistan for the Pulwama attack, was a part of its “well-rehearsed tactics from playbook, which they resort to after such incidents”.
“These are knee-jerk and pre-conceived accusations. India needs to introspect and respond to questions about its security and intelligence lapses,” a spokesperson said.
Pakistan claims that its security forces arrested Jadhav from restive Balochistan province on March 3, 2016 after he reportedly entered from Iran.
However, India maintains that Jadhav was kidnapped from Iran where he had business interests after retiring from the Navy. Jadhav’s sentencing had evoked a sharp reaction in India.
India had approached the ICJ for “egregious” violation of the provisions of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, 1963, by Pakistan in Jadhav’s case.
The crucial hearing at the UN’s top court comes a time when the tensions between the two nations are at an all-time high in wake of the Pulwama terror attack, planned and executed by Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed, which left 22 CRPF jawans dead.