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United Nations court orders Pakistan to halt execution of Indian 'spy'

19 May 2017

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.

With just a day to go for the expiry of a 40-day deadline to challenge the death sentence given to Kulbhushan Jadhav, Indian officials said on Friday they do not know if Pakistani military authorities are even considering an appeal submitted by the former Indian navy officer's mother.

Jadhav was "an innocent Indian national, who, incarcerated in Pakistan for more than a year on concocted charges. has been held incommunicado. and faces imminent execution", lawyer Deepak Mittal told the tribunal.

Former Pakistan attorney, General Irfan Qadir told Dawn that the country's lawyers, who argued the case at ICJ, were "inexperienced".

However, he said Pakistan "will present solid evidence against the Indian spy in the International Court".

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Overruling Pakistan's contention that ICJ has no jurisdiction over the matter, an eleven-member bench said that it has prima facie jurisdiction in the case after Pakistan's failure to give consular access to India.

"Pakistan has perused the case involving Jadhav at the ICJ, taking into account the national security affairs and followed all the legal procedures under constitutional bindings", she said.

Jadhav was allegedly arrested from Pakistan's restive Balochistan province on March 3, 2016. But death sentences have rarely been issued in recent years.

"The court further observes that Pakistan has indicated that any execution of Mr. Jadhav would probably not take place before the month of August 2017".

Pakistan can not execute Indian national Jadhav until it makes a final decision in the proceedings of the case, the ICJ said. Ruling in favour of India, the Court asked Pakistan to keep it informed about the measures, including on consular access, taken by it in this connection.

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Rulings by the U.N.'s highest court are final and binding on the countries involved.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has ordered Pakistan to stay the execution of an Indian national convicted of spying. India and Pakistan do have a "dispute" on the matter, ICJ president Ronny Abraham observed.

The subordination of the 2008 bilateral agreement to the Vienna Convention is a victory for India as well, preventing Pakistan from proceeding againstIndian nationals in what are essentially secret trials - Jadhav was convicted by a military court without representation.

The International Court of Justice granted these measures after a public hearing was conducted on May 15.

India had dragged Pakistan to the ICJ on May 8 for refusing consular access to Jadhav and for violating the Vienna Convention on consular relations.

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