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Posted at: May 19, 2017, 1:20 PM; last updated: May 19, 2017, 6:16 PM (IST)

Pak to get new team of lawyers in Jadhav case after govt faces flak

Pak to get new team of lawyers in Jadhav case after govt faces flak
Kulbushan Jadhav. File photo

Islamabad, May 19

Pakistan will constitute a new team of lawyers to “vigorously” present its case against Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav at the ICJ, the Prime Minister’s adviser on foreign affairs Sartaj Aziz said on Friday as the government faced flak over the handling of the case.

The announcement by Aziz came amid criticism by experts and opposition leaders over the government’s handling of the case at the International Court of Justice.

The Hague-based court had yesterday stayed the execution of Jadhav, 46, alleged to be a spy by Pakistan.

The UN’s highest judicial body also asked Pakistan to take “all measures” to ensure that Jadhav, sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court for alleged espionage, was not executed till the court had delivered its final verdict on the issue.

The ruling triggered criticism of the Pakistan Foreign Office (FO) for its “poor handling” and also for its choice of UK-based Khawar Qureshi, who represented Pakistan’s case before the ICJ.

Several legal experts questioned the strategy adopted by Pakistan and asked why it accepted the global court’s jurisdiction.

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The Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) had recommended some other counsel, The Express Tribune reported.

Eminent lawyer and human rights activist Asma Jahangir suggested that rather than making the ICJ ruling a matter of ego, “we should sit down, join our heads and find a way out by going through the ruling thoroughly”.

“Who gave the opinion to deny consular access to Jadhav in the first place?” she asked.

International law expert Ahmer Bilal Soofi was of the view that Pakistan should prepare for the second phase of the case, which was “more important because it would be contested on merit and would provide Pakistan the chance to document India’s intervention inside Pakistan through Jadhav”.

Islamabad could insist on cooperation from India on the investigation into Jadhav’s activities, he said.

Former law minister SM Zafar said prime facie, it was a wrong decision. “I could not understand why the ICJ issued a stay order in the Jadhav case without even understanding the case.”

According to him, Pakistan should change its legal strategy and concentrate more on the terrorism angle. — PTI 

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