Pakistan rejects request for Indian lawyer to represent Kulbhushan Jadhav

Despite India trying to appoint a defence counsel for Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav using diplomatic channels, Pakistan has said that only “locally registered lawyers” will be allowed to appear before the bench.

Geo News on Thursday reported Pakistan Foreign Office Spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri as saying that there was no other option for India but to “cooperate with Pakistani courts”, which only permitted the appearance of locally registered lawyers before the bench.

This comes days after Pakistani media reported that the Islamabad High Court on Thursday gave India “another opportunity” to appoint a counsel for Kulbhushan Jadhav. The Islamabad High Court adjourned the matter till October 6.

Last month, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) of India had said that it has asked Pakistan for Jadhav to be represented by an Indian lawyer for filing a review petition against his death sentence.

“We are in touch with Pakistan through diplomatic channels. We believe in a free and fair trial in keeping with the letter and spirit of International Court of Justice (ICJ) judgment. We have asked that Jadhav be represented by an Indian lawyer,” MEA Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava had said during a virtual briefing.

“However, it is important that Pakistan addresses the core issues and these core issues involve providing all the necessary documents in this case as well as providing unimpeded consular access to Jadhav,” he had said.

India has been asserting that the Pakistani side should provide for an unimpeded, unhindered and unconditional consular access and asked to ensure that the meeting should be held in an atmosphere free from fear of retribution and without the presence of any Pakistani official in the vicinity of Jadhav and the Indian consular officials.

Pakistan has also been requested to not record (video and audio) the meeting.

The spokesperson has said that any conversation between Jadhav and High Commission officials must necessarily take place in privacy and without the presence of any Pakistani official or recording by Pakistan.

Pakistan claims that Jadhav was arrested from Balochistan in 2016 on charges of espionage.India has rejected Pakistan’s allegations and said he was kidnapped from the Iranian port of Chabahar. In early 2017, a Pakistani military court sentenced him to death.

The ICJ upheld India’s claim that Pakistan has committed an egregious violation of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations on several counts.

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