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24 Aug 2017, 10:18 HRS IST
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  • Vienna Convention not for spies involved in terror: Pak to ICJ

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21:44 HRS IST

(Attn Eds: Updating with fresh inputs and quotes)

The Hague, May 15 (PTI)
Vienna Convention provisions on consular access were not intended for a "spy" involved in terror activities, Pakistan today told the International Court of Justice while accusing India of using the world body as a stage for "political theatre" in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case.

India's application on Jadhav, who was arrested in March last year and sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of espionage and subversive activities, was "unnecessary and misconceived" and must be dismissed, Pakistan told the UN's highest judicial body.

India had been unable to provide an explanation for Jadhav's passport which bears a Muslim name, Mohammed Faisal of the Pakistan Foreign Office said in his opening remarks in response to India's submissions earlier in the day.

"India has been unable or perhaps more accurately unwilling to provide an explanation for this passport which is the most obvious indication of covert and illegal activity," he said.

"We wish to make it absolutely clear that we remain committed to the path of peaceful resolution of all disputes.

Whatever the provocation. Pakistan will not be cowed by terrorism, nor will it allow any attempt to malign or misrepresent its position or legal processes to go unchecked," Faisal said.

India has seen it fit to use the International Court of Justice as a stage for "political theatre" but "we will not respond in kind", Faisal told the ICJ which held day-long proceedings to decide the fate of the former Indian Navy officer.

"He will touch upon the reasons what the court should not otherwise exercise any jurisdiction or entertain any aspects of India's engagement of its jurisdiction. Indeed, it is somewhat ironic but perhaps consistent that India complains that it has not been given access to commander Jadhav who has confessed to having been sent by India to wage terror on the innocent civilians and infrastructure of Pakistan," Faisal said.

There has been deafening silence and no response from India on Pakistan's accusations on Jadhav, Pakistan's lawyer Khawar Qureshi said.

He urged the court to dismiss India's application on three accounts - that there was "no urgency", the relief sought was "manifestly unavailable" and the jurisdiction under the Vienna Convention was not "as unchallenged" as India has suggested.

"It (jurisdiction of the court) is limited and indeed it is further limited at qualified rules supplemented by the 2008 agreement" on Consular access," Qureshi said.

On India invoking the Vienna Convention, Qureshi said, "The Vienna convention article 36 which adopted to set up standards of conduct particularly concerning communications and contact with nationals of the sending state which would contribute to the development of the friendly relations among nations...the observation we made immediately is this is unlikely to apply in the context of a spy, terrorist send by a state to engage in acts of terror."

"Indeed, with clear from the Vienna conventions itself that there are provisions beyond article 36 that need to be considered before coming to the court with the bold assertion that the Vienna is interrelated regime," Qureshi said.

Expressing fear that Jadhav, 46, might be executed before the hearing was over, India accused Pakistan of violating the Vienna convention and conducting a "farcical trial" without a "shred of evidence".

Pakistan had denied India its 16 requests for consular access, India's lead attorney Harish Salve said.

The urgent hearing comes after the ICJ last week stayed Jadhav's execution. While India presented its argument over 90 minutes, Pakistan, which claims that Jadhav is an agent of India's external intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), took less than an hour.

India wants the ICJ to annul Jadhav's death sentence and for Pakistan to ensure that no action is taken that may prejudice the rights of India or of Jadhav.

Jadhav, the latest flash point in the tensions between Pakistan and India, was sentenced last month. On May 8, India moved the ICJ against the death penalty, alleging violation of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. On May 9, the highest court in the UN gave Jadhav a lease of life.

India, in its appeal to the ICJ, had asserted that Jadhav was kidnapped from Iran where he was involved in business activities after retiring from the Indian Navy. However, it denies that he has any connection with the government.

Pakistan claims to have arrested Jadhav from its restive Balochistan province.

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