Kulbhushan Jadhav is a former Indian Navy officer who was arrested in Pakistan on charges of espionage. He was, on April 10, 2017, sentenced to death by a military court in Pakistan for “espionage and subversive activities”.
India responded by saying that if the execution takes place, it will “regard it as a case of premeditated murder.” Pakistan on Friday, April 16, 2021, once again urged India to appoint a lawyer to represent death row convict Kulbhushan Jadhav to implement the verdict of the International Court of Justice.
The Islamabad High Court, while hearing the case on Thursday (April 15, 2021) asked the Foreign Office (FO) to approach India about appointing a counsel and clarifying the issue of jurisdiction of the case. FO spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhry, while addressing a weekly briefing, said: “We once again urge India to cooperate with the Pakistani courts by inter-alia appointing a lawyer in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case so that full effect could be given to the ICJ judgment in the case”. The Hague-based ICJ ruled in July 2019 that Pakistan must undertake an "effective review and reconsideration" of the conviction and sentence of Jadhav and also to grant consular access to India without further delay. The ICJ, in its 2019 verdict, had asked Pakistan to provide a proper forum for appeal against the sentence. In connection with questions regarding backchannel contacts with India, Chaudhry said,“States have ways and means to communicate with other states which remain available even during wars.” He further contended that Pakistan never shied away from talks with India and has always underscored the need for a ‘meaningful dialogue' and peaceful resolution of all outstanding disputes, including the core issue of J&K. He quoted, “We believe durable peace, security and development in the region hinge on peaceful resolution of the long-standing Jammu and Kashmir dispute”.