ICJ slap for Pakistan
Neighbouring nation’s sham justice system exposed, but it’s not celebration time yet
The International Court of Justice's (ICJ) verdict on Thursday, staying Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav's execution ordered by a Pakistani military court, has exposed Pakistan's sham justice system in the case. India had resorted to the bold gamble of approaching the ICJ after Pakistan ignored 16 of its requests for consular access to the accused, thus strengthening suspicions that Jadhav had become a victim of kangaroo court justice. The suddenness of the Indian decision not just took Pakistan by surprise but had also been criticised by a few opposition political parties here which believed that by going to a third party to settle a 'bilateral' issue, New Delhi had opened the doors to Pakistan for seeking international mediation on the Kashmir matter. But the ICJ decision has vindicated India's stand and those very parties which had accused the Modi Government, have been compelled to hail the verdict — though they have been miserly in complimenting the Centre for the success. Credit goes to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj and Indian counsel Harish Salve — all of whom worked with the firm conviction that they ought to save an innocent Indian from the gallows. The force of the Indian argument before the ICJ was such that the international court ceded to every one of them, leaving Pakistan red-faced and groping for face-savers. What Pakistan does next to challenge this verdict remains to be seen, but it cannot at any rate proceed with the execution. There is fear in some quarters though, that Pakistan may defy the ICJ order and proceed to execute the capital punishment. It will be taking a massive risk if it does so, because the United Nations is certain to come down heavily on Islamabad, and leading countries will slap crippling economic and other sanctions on Pakistan, which is already struggling with multiple woes. Besides, Pakistan's defiance will result in its further isolation from the world community — and its friend China will be of little use here. It is said that China will veto an international sanction measure that the United Nations Security Council may then propose, but that will still not prevent nations to go ahead with the decision in their individual capacity.Will the civilian Government of Nawaz Sharif be prepared to antagonise the world community?
The crux of India's case was built on Pakistan's denial of consular access. The ICJ dismissed Pakistan's contention that the former had no jurisdiction on what Islamabad termed as a bilateral matter; that the Vienna Convention on Consular Registration (VCCR) did not apply to the Jadhav case; and that there was no urgency which India had argued about, since Jadhav was not to be hanged just yet. Perhaps sensing that the losing party could play dirty, the ICJ Bench went to the extent of saying, “Pakistan shall take all measures at its disposal to ensure that Jadhav is not executed pending the final decision in these proceedings and shall inform the court of all measures taken in implementation of the present order.” Now, India must keep up the pressure since the ICJ ruling offers only temporary relief. Full success will come when Jadhav returns home unharmed.
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