Pakistan is still quaking following the International Court of Justice’s order to Islamabad to stay the execution of Kulbhushan Jadhav, an ex-Indian naval official who has been convicted by the country’s military court for his alleged involvement in espionage and terrorism in Pakistan. The Hague-based 12-bench member court made it clear that “Pakistan shall ensure that Mr Jadav is not executed pending the final decision in these proceedings and shall inform the court of all the measures taken in implementation of the present order.” The order was seen by Pakistani media and the opposition as a rap on Pakistan’s knuckle. They criticized the Nawaz Sharif government of being a weak in selecting an effective legal team for the case. Some of the Pakistan Prime Minister’s detractors went to the extent of accusing him of “selling out” to India. They argued that the ICJ order was the result of a “covert deal”. In this regard they cite the case of the secret meeting between Indian steel tycoon Sajjan Jindal and Sharif in Murree in Pakistan a few days before the ICJ order. Now that Pakistan is a member of the ICJ and has made representation before the Hague-based court in the Jadhav case, it can’t summarily go against the order.
Pakistan to send new legal team and a judge at the Hague
Pakistan is not only considering new legal team to fight Jadhav case, it is also mulling over sending a judge to the ICJ. But question is: How come Pakistan defend its move to execute Jadhav simply on the basis of deceit and falsification? Any legal team needs substantial proof to fight a case. But it could be termed as travesty of the Pakistani society that their country possesses neither talented legal brain to argue the case effectively in the ICJ, nor does it have sufficient documentary material to impress judges there. Secondly, it should be understood that India has thrown all its weight behind the protection of Jhadav’s life, while Pakistan has thrown its weight to protect ego and prestige. In this light, it is doubted whether the ICJ court will allow human life to be sacrificed at the altar of ego. That means Pakistan will again make mockery of itself at the international platform if it fights against India. Of them all, it should be noted that ICG order if violated by Pakistan, would not allow it to escape the international opprobrium it would face. Executing Indian Navy’s ex- official despite ICJ order would be like hanging albatross in the neck of Pakistanis. There have been precedents in the world when ICJ order has been followed in black and white. Mexico had approach the ICJ in 2004 for seeking relief for Mexicans under the death sentence in the US. The ICJ had directed the US to review and reconsider the issue. India may follow the similar path.
What is Pakistan’s problem?
Pakistan’s problem is manifold; it is inefficient in making a difference between chock and cheese; it feels that besides gaining moral victory over India, it would keep its trenchant India haters’ constituency happy by executing Jadhav. To achieve this, Islamabad is considering appointing an ad hoc judge for the ICJ. It should be noted that in the 12-member tribunal, there was an Indian judge, Dalveer Bhandari. Article 31 of the ICJ rule states clearly that if the court includes a “judge of the nationality of one of parties, other party may choose a person to sit as judge. An ad hoc judge can also be selected if the panel includes no judge of the nationality of the parties. Given this option, Pakistan which has been severely criticized by its own people, is planning to put in place its own ad-hoc judge in the penal. But again, when majority of judges find Pakistan a violator of Jadhav’s right (he was denied consular access and also deprived from hiring a lawyer to defend him), how can a single ad-hoc judge’s voice carry a weight in the judgment? Yet Pakistan is rogue state with deficient reputation, it may reject ICJ order and execute Jadhav to satisfy domestic constituency.