In a ray of hope for Kulbhushan Jadhav, the Indian national on death row in Pakistan, the country’s parliament has approved a bill allowing him to appeal his conviction in the high court.
The ‘International Court of Justice (Review and Re-consideration) Act bill was adopted by Pakistan’s lower house, National Assembly, on Thursday after approval from a 21-member standing committee.
According to the provision of the bill, a foreign national can now, either himself or through his representative or through a consular officer of his country’s mission, file a petition before a high court for review and reconsideration in regard to an order of conviction or sentence of a military court.
As soon as the Imran Khan government moved the bill in the National Assembly, Opposition parties raised objection and termed it surrender before India’s demands.
They alleged that the Imran Khan-led government was working at India’s behest.
India has welcomed the Pakistan government’s decision but reiterated that the new law would be meaningless if Kulbhushan is not given an Indian lawyer or neutral legal aid.
While Pakistan continues to allege that Kulbhushan is an Indian spy who deserves to be hanged for carrying out terror attacks inside Pakistan, New Delhi has maintained that he is a former naval officer who was kidnapped from Iran where he had gone for a business deal and then handed over to the Pakistan army.
A military court had, after a sham trial, sentenced Kulbhushan Jadhav to the gallows, after which the government of India had moved the Internation Court of Justice at The Hague. Pakistan was forced to give consular access after the ICJ ruled in India’s favour. On September 2, 2019, then Indian Charge d Affairs Gaurab Ahluwalia met Kulbhushan in a Pakistani jail.