A top Pakistani court hearing the case of Kulbhushan Jadhav on Wednesday has asked India to cooperate in the legal proceeding over the matter, saying appearing before the court did not mean a waiver of sovereignty.
A three-member Bench of the Islamabad High Court (IHC), comprising Chief Justice Athar Minallah, Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb, heard the petition by Pakistan's Ministry of Law and Justice seeking appointment of a lawyer for Mr. Jadhav.
To comply with the ruling of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), Pakistan had promulgated the law, CJ (Review and Reconsideration) Ordinance, 2020, to enable Mr. Jadhav to avail himself of the statutory remedy ,said Attorney General Khalid Jawed Khan to the bench.
He argued that the Indian government deliberately avoided joining court's proceedings and had declined to even appoint a counsel for the IHC's proceedings saying it "is tantamount to surrendering sovereign rights".
"It appears the Indian government has objected, not for non-implementation of ICJ's verdict but to engineer default on the basis of which it would [try to] justify going to the ICJ again," he said.
The Chief Justice expressed surprise that the Indian High Commission in Islamabad, which had approached the IHC seeking the release of five prisoners and had secured a decision in their favour, was questioning the legitimacy of the same court, the report said.
"We are not against sovereign immunity of the Indian government but they should at least tell us how we would proceed to implement the ICJ's decision," the Chief Justice remarked.
The court has further asked the attorney general to take up the matter with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to initiate talks with the Indian authorities.
Further proceedings have been adjourned till June 15.
Mr. Jadhav, the 51-year-old retired Indian Navy officer, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of espionage and terrorism in April 2017.
India had approached the International Court of Justice against Pakistan for denial of consular access to Mr. Jadhav and challenging the death sentence.
ICJ ,in its verdict in July 2019 , had asked Pakistan to undertake an "effective review and reconsideration" of the conviction and sentence of Mr. Jadhav and also to grant consular access to India without further delay.