Pakistan tells ICJ there intent to appoint ad-hoc judge in Jadhav case

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Pakistan on Thursday informed the International Court of Justice (ICJ) of its intent to appoint an ad-hoc judge
Pakistan on Thursday informed the International Court of Justice (ICJ) of its intent to appoint an ad-hoc judge

Islamabad : Pakistan on Thursday informed the International Court of Justice (ICJ) of its intent to appoint an ad-hoc judge who will sit on the bench for all proceedings in a case relating to alleged Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav, including the substantive hearing.

According to a press release issued by the office of Attorney General of Pakistan, a meeting took place on Thursday between International Court of Justice President Ronny Abraham and delegations of India and Pakistan to discuss the timelines in the Jadhav case. 

The Registrar of the court and other court officials were present at the meeting. 

The release said it was not a hearing and no discussion on the substance or merits of the case took place. 

"The purpose of the meeting was only to discuss procedural matters, including the timelines for submission of written memorials and to enable a hearing to be listed," it said.

The delegation of Pakistan was led by Attorney General Ashtar Ausaf Ali. Its members included Mohammad Faisal, Director General for South Asia in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ahmad Irfan Aslam, Head of International Disputes Unit in the Office of the Attorney General, and Khawar Qureshi QC, Counsel for Pakistan.

The release said ICJ President sought the views of the parties as to the time required for the submission of their written pleadings and supporting evidence called memorials. 

The Pakistan Attorney General urged the court to adopt an expedited timetable for an early substantive hearing. The court will announce the timetable shortly.

"The Attorney General informed the International Court of Justice of Pakistan's intent to appoint the ad-hoc judge who will sit on the bench of the court for all proceedings in this case, including the substantive hearing," the release said.

It said Indian application seeks "at least release or acquittal" of Jadhav. "As was made clear by Pakistan's Counsel Khawar Qureshi QC on May 15, India can never obtain this from the ICJ," the release said.

It said the court on May 18 made a procedural order to enable a full hearing to take place and it did not make any finding of jurisdiction or merits. 

"Pakistan's arguments on jurisdiction and merits will be considered by the court at the full hearing. As can be seen from paragraph 60 of the order of May 18, the court stated that it 'in no way prejudged jurisdiction, admissibility or merits'."

"Pakistan is fully confident that India can never succeed in its application," it said, adding that India "can never obtain acquittal or release" of Jadhav on the basis of its application to the International Court.

India approached the UN court last month seeking a stay on the execution of Jadhav, which the court granted.

Jadhav was tried by a military court in Pakistan in April and awarded death sentence on charges of spying and posing a threat to national security. 

Pakistan has said that Jadhav will not be executed till he "exhausts all his mercy appeals", which includes one with the President of Pakistan.

India moved the ICJ against the death penalty on May 8. The next day, the international court gave Jadhav, 46, a lease of life and stayed the death sentence as a provisional measure.

Pakistan claims its security forces arrested Jadhav from its restive Balochistan province on March 3 last year after he reportedly entered from Iran.