Kulbhushan Jadhav's fate to remain uncertain

Kulbhushan Jadhav's fate to remain uncertain

The fate of former Indian Navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav will continue to hang in balance for several more months as the International Court of Justice in The Hague is unlikely to start hearing on his case this year.

With both India and Pakistan completing the second round of submission of written pleadings on the case, the stage is now set for the ICJ to move towards hearing on the case. Sources in New Delhi, however, told DH on Wednesday that it might not be possible for the ICJ to start hearing on the case before the end of this year, given its busy schedule.

India and Pakistan had filed memorial and counter-memorial on the case to the ICJ on September 13 and December 13 last year respectively. The ICJ had on January 17 this year asked India to submit by April 17 a reply to the counter-memorial submitted by Pakistan on December 13 last year. Pakistan too had been given time till Tuesday to submit a rejoinder to the reply from India.

Pakistan on Tuesday submitted a 400-page rejoinder countering the reply submitted by India on April 17.

Jadhav has been in the custody of Pakistan Army since March 2016. Islamabad turned down a repeated request by New Delhi to grant consular access to him. He was awarded death sentence by a military court in Pakistan in April last year for allegedly working for India's Research and Analytical Wing (RAW) and being involved with espionage and sabotage in the neighbouring country.

New Delhi on May 8 last year 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. India accused Pakistan of “egregious violation” of the provisions of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, 1963.

The ICJ on May 18 issued an interim order asking Islamabad not to execute the death sentence awarded to Jadhav by a military court in Pakistan till it decided on the plea by India.

Pakistan in its rejoinder submitted on Tuesday also countered India's allegation that Jadhav's mother and wife had been harassed during a visit to Islamabad to meet him.

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