Pakistan invites India to file review against spy's conviction

Pakistan says Indian spy does not want to challenge his sentence while India said Kulbhushan Jadhav was coerced.

    Kulbhushan Jadhav was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military tribunal in 2017, but the ICJ ordered Islamabad last year to review the sentence [Anjum Naveed/AP Photo]
    Kulbhushan Jadhav was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military tribunal in 2017, but the ICJ ordered Islamabad last year to review the sentence [Anjum Naveed/AP Photo]

    Pakistan has invited India to file a review against a military court's death sentence last year to former Indian navy commander Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav on charges of espionage and sabotage.

    India had asked the United Nations' International Court of Justice (ICJ) to intervene, calling the Pakistani trial unfair. The court ordered Islamabad last year to conduct an "effective review" of the ruling, saying a "continued stay of execution" was needed for that to happen.

    "While Commander Jadhav's mercy petition is still pending, India is invited to file review and reconsideration petition to give effect to the Judgment of the International Court of Justice (ICJ)," Pakistan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on Wednesday.

    India accused Pakistan of coercing Jadhav to refuse to file a review. "Kulbhushan Jadhav has been sentenced to execution through a farcical trial. He remains under custody of Pakistan's military. He has clearly been coerced to refuse to file a review in his case," the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a statement.

    New Delhi said Islamabad was dragging its feet on the world court's order in letter and spirit.

    "Despite our repeated requests, Pakistan continues to deny India free and unimpeded access to Shri Jadhav," the MEA said in a statement.

    The ministry said India had repeatedly asked to allow a lawyer from outside Pakistan to appear for any review and reconsideration proceedings, but "Pakistan has denied it."

    Islamabad said Jadhav was arrested in early 2016 in Pakistan's southwestern province of Balochistan, where nationalist and separatist groups have long waged a low-level armed rebellion demanding a larger share in the mineral-rich region's resources.

    Islamabad accuses New Delhi of backing separatist groups, a charge New Delhi denies. Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has blamed India for last month's attack on the Karachi stock exchange, which one of the separatist groups claimed to have launched.

    The two South Asian nations have fought three wars since their independence from the United Kingdom in 1947.

    SOURCE: News agencies