Pakistan on Friday rejected India’s demand that an Indian lawyer or a Queen counsel should be appointed in Kulbhushan Jadhav case to ensure a free and fair trial.
“Allowing a Queen’s Counsel for Jadhav is out of the question as only a lawyer with a license to practice in Pakistan can appear before the court,” Foreign Office Spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudri said at a press briefing here.
A Queen’s Counsel is a barrister or advocate, appointed as counsel to the United Kingdom’s Crown on the recommendation of the Lord Chancellor, Geo News reported.
Earlier this month, the Islamabad High Court in Pakistan directed the federal government to give India another chance to appoint a lawyer to represent Jadhav and adjourned hearing for a month.
Ministry of External Affairs’ spokesperson Anurag Srivastava on Thursday said that Pakistan has not been able to fulfil its obligations on implementation of ICJ judgment in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case and has not yet addressed core issues including provision of all documents and unimpeded access.
Srivastava said at the regular media briefing that Pakistan has also not addressed the appointment of an Indian lawyer or a Queen’s counsel to ensure a free and fair trial for Jadhav.
“The Government of Pakistan has not been able to fulfil its obligations on implementation of the ICJ judgment in letter and spirit. It has not yet addressed the core issues, which includes the provision of all documents related to the case, providing unconditional and unimpeded consular access to Kulbhusan Jadhav and appointment of an Indian lawyer or a Queen’s counsel to ensure a free and fair trial,” he said.
Geo News had last week cited 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 permit the appearance of locally registered lawyers before the bench.
India has said Pakistan should provide for an unimpeded, unhindered and unconditional consular access and that the meeting of Indian officials with Jadhav should take place in an atmosphere free from fear of retribution.
India has also 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 International Court of Justice (ICJ) had upheld India’s claim that Pakistan has committed an egregious violation of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations on several counts.