World Court Orders Pakistan Temporarily Not to Execute Alleged Indian Spy

Pakistani officials claim Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav has confessed to spying for Indian intelligence services but India denies the allegations

Jadhav, 46 a former Indian Navy officer, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of espionage and subversive activities after which India approached the highest United Nations judicial body with the plea to stay his execution.

"Pakistan would form a new team of lawyers on Kulbhushan Jadhev case in ICJ to present Pakistan's stance vigorously", he added.

The International Court of Justice unanimously ruled Thursday that Kulbhushan Jadhav should not be executed pending the outcome of a suit filed by India that alleges Pakistan violated Jadhav's right to consular and attorney access after his arrest past year.

The court agreed with India's concerns on the matter, since Pakistan has not provided any assurance that Jadhav will not be executed till a final decision is taken by ICJ.

The two countries are battling it out in the worldwide 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.

The International Court of Justice on Thursday blocked the execution of Jadhav, sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of spying and subversion. "He did not nominate ad hoc judge before the hearing and he did not respond to the argument of Indian lawyer regarding the 2008 bilateral agreement between India and Pakistan on consular access", he said.

Sushma Swaraj, India's external affairs minister, said the court order "has come as a great relief to the family of Kulbhushan Jadhav and people of India".

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Pakistani authorities say Jadhav confessed to being assigned by India's intelligence service to plan, coordinate and organise espionage and sabotage activities in Baluchistan "aiming to destabilise and wage war against Pakistan".

"As far as Pakistan is concerned, the court's decision today has not changed the status of Commander Jadhav's case in any manner", the statement said.

Since Jadhav's arrest previous year in March, India asked Pakistan as many as 16 times for consular access to the Indian national.

Pakistan attended the hearing at the ICJ "because of its conviction that the only way to resolve all outstanding issues is through peaceful means", it said. The ICJ has endorsed India's contention that Pakistan has violated the Vienna Convention regarding consular access. While ICJ rejected the jurisdiction argument, Pakistani experts now believe that this was a "weak" and "damaging" claim, according to Dawn.

The Hague-based ICJ heard the two sides on Monday where Pakistan had challenged the jurisdiction of the court but in its decision the court prime facie exercised the jurisdiction and accepted Indian pleas.

"ICJ has only granted formal stay on the death sentence of Jadhav", he maintained. The ruling of UN's top court has been viewed as a big win for India, which has accused Pakistan of violating an worldwide treaty that guarantees rights of foreign convicts.

India has maintained that Mr Jadhav had long retired from the navy, and that he was kidnapped from Iran while there on personal business, and smuggled into Pakistan.

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