Kulbhushan Jadhav: Pakistan using ICJ for propaganda, says Harish Salve; demands consular access

Arguing India’s case at the ICJ, Harish Salve said India had sent 13 reminders to Pakistan for consular access to Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav, but Islamabad is yet to accede

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India on Monday accused Pakistan of misusing the International Court of Justice for propaganda as the top UN court began a four-day public hearing in the case of Kulbhushan Jadhav, sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of espionage.

Arguing before the court, presided over by ICJ President Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf, India's counsel Harish Salve said, "There is no manner of doubt that Pakistan was using this as a propaganda tool. Pakistan was bound to grant consular access without delay," Salve said before the court.

He said India had sent 13 reminders to Pakistan for consular access to Jadhav, but Islamabad is yet to accede. "India reminded Pakistan for consular access — 13 reminders were sent — but to no avail," he 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.

During the hearing, Salve said Pakistan filed the FIR almost a month after the arrest of Jadhav.

"In April 2016 and FIR was registered against Jadhav. In May 2016, Jadhav was interrogated, and India sent reminders for consular access across May, June, and July," Salve says.

"Pakistan embarrassed to disclose charges against Jadhav," Salve said.

Pakistan did not inform Kulbhushan Jadhav of his rights, he said.

Salve was presenting his arguments after India and Pakistan filed memorials and counter-memorials in the case in which the ICJ had in May 2017 stayed Jadhav's execution.

"I consider myself honoured to present India's case here to save an innocent Indian. The basis on which India is pursuing the case are: First issue relates to construction of the Vienna Convention, consular access was not granted," Salve said accusing Pakistan of raising issues that have no relevance to the case.

He said the trial by Pakistan failed in following even the minimum standards of natural and human rights.

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