The fate of former Indian Navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav will continue to hang in balance, as the International Court of Justice based in The Hague is unlikely to start hearing on his case before July this year.
The ICJ has asked India to submit by April 17 this year a reply to the written arguments submitted by Pakistan. It has also asked Pakistan to submit by July 17 this year a rejoinder to the reply submitted by India.
"The court made its decision taking into account the views of the parties and the circumstances of the case," the ICJ said in an order passed on January 17.
"The subsequent procedure has been reserved for further decision."
Jadhav has been in the custody of Pakistan Army since March 2016. Islamabad turned down the repeated request by New Delhi to grant consular access to him.
He was awarded death sentence by a military court in Pakistan in April 2017 for allegedly working for India's external intelligence agency Research and Analytical Wing (RAW) and being involved with espionage and sabotage in the neighbouring country.
New Delhi on May 8 moved the ICJ after waiting for 11 days for Islamabad to respond to its latest and the 16th request for granting the High Commission of India in Pakistan "consular access" to Jadhav.
The ICJ on May 18 asked Islamabad not to execute the death sentence awarded to Jadhav by a military court in Pakistan till it decided on the plea by India.
The ICJ, the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, had earlier given India time till September 13 to file "memorial" or initial pleadings on its plaint against Pakistan for violation of 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations in the case of Jadhav.
Pakistan had also been given time till December 13 to respond to the memorial submitted by India.
The court issued the latest order after both sides submitted the memorial and counter-memorial.