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Intl. court asks Pakistan to stay execution of Indian 'spy'

19 May 2017

The tribunal directed Islamabad to suspend the sentence until it has had time to hear an argument from India that Pakistan violated an worldwide treaty guaranteeing diplomatic help to foreigners accused of capital crimes.

Pakistan claimed that the former Indian Navy officer confessed in a video that he was involved in spying and terror activities in Balochistan, a charge rejected by India.

India's case on Kulbhushan Jadhav has been "emboldened' and "invigorated" with the first round of victory at the ICJ, senior advocate Harish Salve said". "Pakistan shall take all measures at its disposal to ensure that Mr Jadhav is not executed pending the final decision in these proceedings", said ICJ President R o n n y Abraham.

"The court also decides that, until it has given its final decision, it shall remain seized of the matters which form the subject matter of this order", a press release from the global court said.

In our submissions on May 15, Pakistan had assured the court unambiguously that Jadhav would be provided every opportunity and remedy available under the law to defend his case.

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However, reacting on ICJ's order, Pakistan while challengig the authority of ICJ said that it can not be a party to Pakistan's national security.

Pakistan sought to play down the significance of the order, saying in a written statement that, "the court's decision today has not changed the status of Commander Jadhav's case in any manner". It also upheld India's right to consular access, a request Pakistan has denied as many as 16 times.

"Without prejudging the result, the ICJ considers that the risk or irreparable prejudice, the mere fact that Jadhav is under such a sentence and might be executed, is sufficient to demonstrate such a risk".

The two countries are battling it out in the global court amid a sharp escalation in tension over ceasefire violations by Pakistan, terror attacks in Jammu and Kashmir and the recent mutilation of two Indian soldiers by Pakistanis.

In 1998, a Paraguayan man was executed for murder in Virginia despite the worldwide court's order urging the United States to halt his execution in a similar case involving the right to consular access.

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A Pakistan military court had awarded the death sentence to former Indian naval officer Jadhav on April 10 for alleged "espionage and subversive activities".

Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, while talking to reporters said: "The Indian government's stand is still victorious".

Ashtar said the provisional measures are a procedural process only to enable the court to have full consideration at a later hearing.

Notably, the ICJ did not rule on India's main argument that Kulbhushan Jadhav's trial in Pakistan was in violation of the Vienna Convention on Consular Access. It also told Pakistan to give consular access to India.

The case - a rare foray for the two South Asian nations into the global courts - has highlighted the recent sharp upsurge in tensions between the nuclear-armed rivals.

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Modi is learnt to have called up Swaraj after the world court's decision, which came days before his government completes three years in office.