Nawaz gov’t ‘mishandled’ alleged Indian spy case: Pakistan FM

Shah Mehmood Qureshi says the bill, passed by Parliament last week, aims to bring Pakistani laws in line with the orders of the International Court of Justice.

Pakistan’s foreign minister has blamed the country’s previous government for “mishandling” the case of Kulbhushan Jadhav, an Indian national convicted of espionage by a Pakistani military court four years ago, as the laws relating to matters governing Pakistan’s goes to the Senate.

Speaking to the media in the Pakistani city of Multan on Sunday, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said a bill passed by the lower house of parliament last week was aimed at complying with the orders of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and depriving India of the same. Opportunity to “drag” Pakistan back to court.

“The PML-N handled the Kulbhushan Jadhav case wrongly,” he said, referring to former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz Party, a main opposition political party.

“The steps we have taken are to comply with the orders and recommendations of the International Court of Justice.”

Qureshi’s remarks came after a noisy debate on the bill in Parliament on Thursday, with both Treasury and opposition benches accusing each other of incompetence in handling the matter.

Jadhav was arrested by Pakistani security forces in March 2016 and convicted a year later by a military court for espionage and facilitating attacks by armed groups on Pakistani soil.

At the time of his arrest, the army released a video of Jadhav confessing to operating a network of operatives to carry out attacks in Pakistan’s southwestern Balochistan province.

In July 2019, following a petition filed by India, the ICJ ordered Pakistan to allow Jadhav full and unimpeded consular access to Indian authorities, but rejected an Indian plea to quash his sentence.

The court also ordered that Jadhav be empowered to review and reconsider his sentence before a civil court.

A bill passed by Pakistan’s lower house of parliament on Thursday gives foreign nationals convicted by military courts in Pakistan the right to file appeals before the High Court, as well as petitions seeking consular access.

The government of India has so far not commented on the passage of the bill, which will also have to be voted on by the Upper House of Parliament before it becomes law.

In August 2020, India’s foreign ministry said that New Delhi had asked Pakistan to allow an Indian lawyer to represent Jadhav.

In defense of the bill on Sunday, Qureshi said: “India wants [Jadhav] They should not be given consular access and on this pretext Pakistan should be dragged back to the International Court of Justice.”

“That’s what India wants. I hope our opposition members will not misunderstand things and understand India’s plan.

India’s foreign ministry has not commented on Qureshi’s allegations.


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