By Pramod Thomas
PAKISTAN has made it clear that no lawyer from outside the country will be allowed to represent death-row prisoner Kulbhushan Jadhav.
For a free and fair trial, India demanded to appoint an Indian lawyer or a Queen’s counsel in the case.
A Queen’s Counsel is a barrister or advocate, appointed Counsel to the UK Crown on the recommendation of the Lord Chancellor.
Jadhav was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court for alleged spying.
Pakistan foreign office spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri, on Friday(18) termed India’s demand as “unrealistic”.
“We have informed India that only those lawyers are allowed to appear in Pakistani courts who have a license to practice law in Pakistan,” said Chaudhri.
“This is in line with international legal practice. There can be no change in this position.”
Earlier this month, the Islamabad high court in Pakistan directed the federal government to give India another chance to appoint a lawyer to represent Jadhav and adjourned hearing for a month.
Pakistan’s Parliament on Tuesday(15) extended for four months an ordinance that allowed Jadhav to file an appeal against his conviction in a high court as required by the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said the government of Pakistan has not been able to fulfil its obligations on implementation of the ICJ judgment in letter and spirit.
In 2017, India approached the ICJ against Pakistan for denial of consular access to Jadhav and challenging the death sentence handed to him by a military court.
The 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.
Fifty-year-old retired Indian Navy officer Jadhav was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of espionage and terrorism in April 2017.