The International Court of Justice (ICJ) began hearing the Kulbhushan Jadhav case at The Hague on Monday, February 20th. Both sides were given opportunities to present their arguments over four days of proceedings. The ICJ has reserved its verdict, which will be deliberated upon and tentatively announced in April.

In the initial hearing on Monday, the Indian lawyers presented their argument in which they failed to address any of the questions raised by Pakistan ahead of the hearing. They also failed to provide any proof for their own claims.

It should be noted that according to the official ICJ webpage, it has jurisdiction over whether or not a state has violated any International laws and to advise on legal questions presented to it.

Therefore, it has no jurisdiction over the decision of whether or not Commander Kulbhushan Jadhav is guilty. These proceedings are only to discern whether or not Pakistan has violated the Vienna Conventions on Consular Relations (VCCR) by trying Jadhav in military courts and, allegedly, denying him consular access.
The Pakistani counsel Khawar Qureshi QC, a member of the English Bar, was able to nullify these claims through a compelling counter argument with proof. He said that the Vienna convention is not applicable here because Jadhav was never denied counselor access.

It is also inapplicable because the Agreement on Consular Access between India and Pakistan overrides it. The agreement, dated May 21, 2008 and drafted by India, entitles each state to consider a request for consular access “on its merits” where it involves a person implicated in national security matters.
The Pakistani counsel rightfully expressed during the hearing, “These are proceedings lodged for political theatre and they should be dismissed”. This is not an effort to preserve justice, but a political move to nullify the Pakistani narrative and effort on terrorism as a whole.

Taking this matter up with the ICJ was a political move on India’s part. They had been hoping that Pakistan would back out of the hearings, not considering the possibility that we did, in fact, have indisputable proof of their involvement in terrorist activity on Pakistani soil. These hearings should stand as proof of India’s continued efforts to manipulate the narrative in their favour, despite being warmongers themselves. They have used various methods to achieve hegemony in the region by creating conflict. The Indian NSA Ajit Doval has made no secret of contributing to and creating unrest in Pakistan.

Another round of arguments is due for February 20th and 21st. If the prior round is any indication, the Indian counsel does not have enough evidence to support its claims. Nor can they justify this deplorable use of the ICJ, which was truly just a futile effort to further their own political goals.

Hopefully, the ICJ and international community as a whole will realize at the end of these proceedings that it was never about consular access or violation of the Vienna Conventions. It was always about engaging in rhetoric that supports the Indian narrative that Pakistan has been encouraging and supporting terrorism in the region, when the reality is the exact opposite. It is an exclusively political move that has nothing to do with justice.


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