The Government on Thursday assured that it will vigorously continue its efforts to ensure the safety and well being of former Indian Navy officer, Kulbhushan Jadhav, as well as his early return to India.
This comes a day after the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Wednesday ordered Pakistan not to execute Kulbhushan Jadhav and directed “effective review and reconsideration” of his conviction and the sentence awarded to him by a military court.
Speaking in the Rajya Sabha, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said that the ICJ by a vote of 15-1 upheld India’s claim that Pakistan is in violation of Vienna Convention on several counts.
He further urged Pakistan to release and repatriate Jadhav at the earliest.
Speaking on the world court order, Jaishankar said the ICJ has directed Pakistan to inform Jadhav without further delay of his rights and provide Indian consular officers’ access to him in accordance with the Vienna Convention.
The Government has made untiring efforts in seeking Jadhav’s release including through legal means in the ICJ.
In 2017, the government made a commitment on the floor of the House to undertake all steps necessary to protect the interest and welfare of Jadhav, the EAM said.
The minister also praised Kulbhushan Jadhav’s family for having shown exemplary courage during difficult circumstances.
Rajya Sabha Chairman and Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu expressed his happiness over the development while welcoming the ICJ verdict.
He also expressed hope that the government will pursue the case till Jadhav is discharged and released.
Earlier in the day, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh welcomed the verdict and expressed hope that Pakistan will realise their mistake and will take action to ensure that Kulbhushan Jadhav gets justice and is returned to India.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed the verdict saying that “truth and justice have prevailed”.
The world court, while rejecting all objections raised by Pakistan, directed it to grant consular access to Jadhav “without further delay”, while holding that it had “breached” the Vienna Convention in this regard by denying him this right.
Jadhav, a former Indian Navy officer, was on a death row in Pakistan on charges of spying for RAW.
The verdict was 15 to one in favour of India – the lone dissenter being from Pakistan. In a major setback for Pakistan in the high-profile verdict, the Chinese jurist and Vice President of the world court, Xue Hanqin, also backed the majority judgement.
The court has, however, refused to annul Jadhav’s death sentence or order his release and safe passage to India.
Pakistan claims it arrested Jadhav on 3 March 2016 when he attempted to cross over into the country from the Saravan border in Iran in pursuit of targets set by his RAW handlers. New Delhi has rubbished Pakistan’s claim, asserting that the Indian national was abducted by Pakistani agencies from Iran where he was running a business.
Pakistan subsequently conducted a farcical trial of Jadhav in a military court and sentenced him to death. Pakistan Army chief, Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, had endorsed the death penalty for Jadhav in April 2017.
Pakistan also refused to give consular access to the Indian prisoner despite repeated requests by New Delhi. In June 2017, Jadhav filed a mercy petition against the death penalty. However, it was rejected by Pakistan, forcing India to approach the ICJ. India sought annulment of Jadhav’s execution and his immediate release by Pakistan.