The International Court of Justice (ICJ) presented its verdict on the Kulbushan Jadhav case between Pakistan and India. The decision has been met with mixed reactions on both sides as both Pakistan and India claim “victory”.
But there’s more to this case than who won or lost. When we read between the lines to see what this case and the verdict really imply, there might be a different story.
The ICJ reiterating that the case is not about the conviction and also allowing Pakistan to reconsider the sentence through means of its own choice, means that our claim that Commander Jadhav was an instrument of Indian terrorism in Balochistan has been vidicated. Therefore, this means that the international community has seen proof that India has had a hand in nationalist and extremist movements and terrorism in Pakistan. Whether or not they’re willing to acknowledge this proof is another story.
Expanding on India’s support of extremism in Pakistan, especially Balochistan, one can clearly understand that they have been funding such movements. Therefore, while the US and UK declared that the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) a terrorist group, they should also go beyond this declaration and identify those that support (read: fund) them and others like them.
Declaring BLA a terrorist organization
The case of Kulbhushan Jadhav itself is evidence enough of the fact that India has been carrying out covert intelligence operations in Pakistan, mostly in Balochistan lately. It is further proof that they’re guilty of funding multiple terrorist suits who wreak havoc on Pakistani soil. It’s high time that the international community take notice of this.
So, who won the ICJ case? The answer is no one and everyone. This ICJ verdict manages to satisfy both sides with equal compromises. To reiterate, the case was never about whether or not Commander Jadhav was guilty. It was about whether Pakistan violated the Vienna Convention and if the conviction and sentence decided by the Military court stands.
When looking at the judgement from this perspective, Pakistan may have “lost” because we were found to have violated the Vienna Convention on the grounds that we did not immediately inform Commander Jadhav of his rights, we did not inform the Indian government of his arrest “without delay” and we denied him access to an Indian Consular Officer.
The ICJ suggested that we remedy this by firstly, granting him consular access and informing him of his rights. Then the Court suggests that his previous conviction and sentence be reconsidered, taking into consideration the effect of Pakistan’s violations. The means of this reconsideration have been left up to Pakistan’s choice.
This is where we may have had a “victory”. The Indian counsel, in the suggested remedies has stated that Pakistan’s conviction of Commander Jadhav be nullified and that he be repatriated to India. The ICJ rejected this suggestion and re-emphasized that the case had not been about the conviction or the sentence; it was about judicial violations. Suggesting that Pakistan reconsider the Military Court’s judgement is because the judgment may have been clouded as a consequence of the violations.
Regardless of who “won” or “lost”, the implications case and its verdict tell another story altogether. We still have Commander Jadhav and through a fair trial, we still hold the power to decide how he will be punished for his crimes against Pakistan.