Harish Salve won it for India, the case he prepared was absolutely stunning

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Image Courtesy: HT

After nine days of fighting endlessly with scores of evidences and loads of legal acumen, it looks like India has finally got something to smile for. In an important verdict, as read out primarily by President of the International Court of Justice, Mr. Ronny Abraham, the Honb. Court gave Pakistan a brutal thrashing of its own class, upholding the Indian request of consular access to their citizen, ex Navy Commander Kulbhushan Jadhav, as well as consequentially staying his execution until the final order.

Represented by illustrious lawyer Harish Salve, India had filed an affidavit in the International Court of Justice against the arbitrary decision of execution by hanging imposed on Kulbhushan Jadhav, who was wrongly incarcerated on the charges of espionage in Balochistan, and immediately slapped with an arbitrary death sentences by one of the notorious kangaroo styled military courts of Pakistan at Karachi.

On India’s request, in a special order passed at midnight of 10th May, in accordance with the ICJ’s Rules Of Court, under Article 74, Paragraph 4 of the same, the ICJ issued a summon to Pakistan to put forward their views in the hearing which was held on 15th May, in defence of their arbitrary sentence imposed. As a result, the execution of Kulbhushan Jadhav was put on a temporary hold, until the hearing.

Eminent Lawyer Harsih Salve, representing India at the ICJ, had prepared a watertight case that in the end proved too tough for the Pakistani Counsel. Following were the accusations of Indian panel with respect to the case of Kulbhushan Jadhav:-

⦁ India was denied consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav, despite India applying for it under every legal provision possible.
⦁ The arbitrary sentence imposed and the denial of consular access for India to Kulbhushan Jadhav is a clear case of blatant violation of Geneva Conventions, 1961
⦁ Reports have surfaced that Kulbhushan Jadhav had been abducted from the Iran Pakistan border, and handed over to Pakistan by Talibani insurgents as cannon fodder.

Harish Salve, represented the Indian side at the cost of a solitary rupee [a surprise in itself], India strongly appealed for a stay on the execution order, which was otherwise irreversible.

Pakistan stunned by Harish Salve’s legal salvos, defended their stance, by attempting to beat around the bush and impose their rhetoric on ICJ, with a request to show the doctored confession video, which was nipped in the bud by the panel itself.

In the verdict as pronounced by ICJ, under the leadership of President Ronny Abraham, the Court ruled in a unanimous decision, that India and Pakistan are both parties to Vienna Convention, and as such, as quoted by President Abraham himself, ‘India should have got consular access to its national.’

As quoted, ICJ also accepted the Indian claims in relation to Kulbhushan Jadhav’s mysterious arrest. To quote Mr. Abraham, “ …….The context in which the present case has been wrote before the court can be summarized as follows:-

Mr. Jadhav has been in the custody of the Pakistani authorities since the 3rd of March 2016, although the circumstances of his arrest remain in dispute between the parties…….’
The Court also rejected the discontention of Pakistan against the Indian appeal outright, denoting that since both India and Pakistan are parties to the Vienna convention, apart from the consular access that should’ve been given to Kulbhushan Jadhav, Pakistan must ensure that Kulbhushan Jadhav is not hanged until the Court declares a final order on the same issue.

To quote Mr. Abraham,
“……..Pakistan shall take all measures at its disposal to ensure that Mr Jadhav is not executed pending the final decision in these proceedings………” said the court’s president Ronny Abraham.

A confirmation of the above statement has also been made by the ICJ Press Document, at the very beginning, as shown below:-

To cut the long story short, ICJ has not only refused to acknowledge the flimsy accusations put forward by the Pakistani legal team for the case, headed by Khawar Qureshi, they’ve also ruled the verdict, even if provisional, unanimously in India’s favor. The provisional stay order has not only given a significant hope to Kulbhushan Jadhav, but also provided a major diplomatic victory for the Indian spectrum with respect to protecting her distressed citizens abroad. It will be safe to say that Pakistan lost the case the moment Harish Salve prepared India’s case.

However, the game is not yet over. To be precise, if the case of Kulbhushan Jadhav was a world championship, we’ve only won the semifinals, to be precise. The final hurdle, which involves the acquittal of charges and subsequent release of Kulbhushan Jadhav. As we know, Pakistan is the last nation on earth one would expect to play straight after losing shamelessly once again on international stage. Going by their reaction to the same, I see the signs of their defiance already.

According to Mohammed Faisal of the Pakistan Foreign Office, who had responded to India’s submissions earlier in the day, said that India had been unable to provide an explanation for Kulbhushan Jadhav’s passport which bears a Muslim name. India was using the court as the “scene of political theatre” but “we will not respond in kind”, Faisal told the ICJ which held day-long proceedings to decide the fate of the former Indian Navy officer.

In case the Pakistani authorities decide to do the same mistakes they’ve been doing since 1947, India has a few options to exercise. Either India can appeal further in the UN Security Council, which might turn out to be a futile exercise, owing to the presence of an insurmountable hurdle that is China, who will without doubt put all their weight behind Pakistan, for their own vested interests.

In case India fails to get justice at the UN Security Council, it will be left with a more dangerous option, that to raid Pakistan with an iron hand, and liberate Kulbhushan Jadhav, if at all he is still alive [you can’t expect Pakistan to play fair, do you?]. Either way, India wouldn’t get out of this mess and establish itself as a force to reckon with without getting their hands dirty.

With such a major diplomatic victory, India has an umpteen number of folks to thank for, starting with Harish Salve, who used his acumen to the best of his abilities, without turning greedy for even a bit. Even though he is apprehensive on the position of Kulbhushan Jadhav as of now, he still hopes for the best. In an exclusive interview to eminent channel Times Now, he said that “……..hope is what drives them to believe that Kulbhushan Jadhav is still alive. But there is no concrete proof to determine that…..”

Along with Harish Salve, we also need to thank Sushma Swaraj, our champion Minister of External Affairs, who has put all her weight behind pursuing this case as fast as the central government should. Maybe she hasn’t forgotten the ignominy of not being able to provide justice to the mutilated hero of Kargil War, Captain Saurabh Kalia, whose killers continue to roam free, with top honors, in the badlands of Pakistan, and this might be her way of atoning for the previous sins of the NDA government.

In a way, we can also thank Narendra Modi, our Honb. Prime Minister, for giving his assent to such a fabulous team, who are working day and night to ensure the illustrious graduate of National Defence Academy, 1987 batch, sees the light of the day. Sometimes I think, had he been the PM instead of Manmohan Singh, Sarabjit Singh would’ve been alive, chatting jovially with his sister Dalbir, who was fighting incessantly for him all those years.

While India jumped with joy on this verdict, some in Pakistan decided to play dirty. Our batting great, Virendra Sehwag, paid them back in the funniest way possible:-

On a funny note, I’m surprised at the deathly silence in the liberal section of our Indian intelligentsia, who had thrown all their weight behind the Pakistani authorities, caring two hoots about the incessant torture he would’ve had to face. While some, like Barkha Dutt, with heavy hearts, had to congratulate Mr. Harish Salve for his legal acumen, shameless folks like Sagarika Ghose continued their incessant rants, for example:-

We have a long way to go, but at last, we have a valid ground to fight for, with respect to the case of Kulbhushan Jadhav. Somewhere, in the comfort of heaven, our brothers, Sarabjit and Captain Saurabh, must be smiling with relief.