Pakistani National Assembly gives Kulbhushan the right of appeal against his conviction and death sentence | India News
Amid an uproar from opposition lawmakers, the government swept the Jadhav-related bill, along with 20 other bills, through the National Assembly on Thursday.
Members of the opposition went on strike and signaled the lack of a quorum on three occasions, but each time the president declared the house in order and continued business. This forced the opposition to resort to a loud protest. They gathered in front of the speaker’s podium and began raising slogans such as “Modi ka jo yaar hai gaddar hai, gaddar hai (Whoever Modi’s friend is a traitor)” and “Kulbhushan ko phansi do (Hang Kulbhushan)”.
A lawmaker from the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Ahsan Iqbal, claimed that the government had put the bill on the heavy legislative agenda to bring relief to the suspected Indian spy.
The bill, “International Court of Justice (Review and Reconsideration) Bill, 2020” was introduced by the Minister of Law, Farogh Naseem, in the chamber.
In July 2019, the ICJ noted in its ruling that Pakistan had an obligation to provide an opportunity for review and effective reconsideration to Jadhav against his conviction and sentence. To give full effect to that ruling, the law minister said, it was necessary to provide a mechanism for review and reconsideration of Pakistan’s own choice. “This can only be done by law,” Naseem said, adding that legislation was mandatory to provide new consular access to Jadhav as per the ICJ’s decision.
Opposition members accused the government of giving Kulbhushan an “NRO”, while the minister claimed that they spoke the Indian language and were fulfilling their objectives. The NRO refers to the National Reconciliation Order under which Benazir Bhutto (and many others) were able to return to Pakistan from exile when the cases against them were dropped. The term is now commonly used to describe an attempt to use an ordinance to allow someone to escape the legal process.
Naseem said he was dismayed by the opposition’s behavior and that it appeared that the opposition had not read the ICJ verdict. “If we had not enacted the ordinance and now proposed passage of the legislation, India could have moved closer to the UN Security Council and moved the ICJ to take action against Pakistan for contempt of court, “said the law minister.
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said the opposition parties spoke the Indian language. “India wants us not to pass this legislation, while the opposition members are following the same agenda,” he said.
The government had already enforced the law by enacting an ordinance in May last year, shortly after the ICJ’s verdict in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case.
Amid strong resistance from opposition parties, the permanent committee on law and justice of the National Assembly approved on October 21 last year the bill seeking a review of Jadhav’s conviction.
Jadhav, according to Pakistan, was arrested on March 3, 2016 in the Mashkhel area of Baluchistan. New Delhi, however, said he was a retired Indian. Navy officer kidnapped in Iran.
A secret military court in Pakistan sentenced him to death in April 2017. The military appeal court rejected his appeals against his conviction. In India’s appeal, the ICJ had prevented Pakistan from executing him.