Pakistan on Friday categorically rejected any possibility of allowing a Queen’s Counsel by India to represent Kulbhushan Jadhav, who is currently on death-row in a Pakistan jail.
During a weekly press briefing, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri said that allowing a Queen’s Counsel to Jadhav was out of the question.
“Allowing a Queen’s Counsel for Jadhav is out of the question as only a lawyer with licence to practice in Pakistan can appear before the court,” he said.
Queen’s Counsel is a barrister appointed as Counsel to the UK’s crown on the recommendation of the Lord Chancellor.
Jadhav’s case is currently being heard in the Islamabad High Court (IHC), which gave India another chance to appoint and represent Jadhav during the last hearing.
However, India’s latest demand has been rejected by Islamabad, stating that it has already provided consular access to Jadhav besides giving an open call to India to appoint a lawyer to represent him in the court.
“Pakistan had already given uninterrupted and unimpeded consular access to Jadhav and is ready to extend the same in future as well,” said Chaudri.
Pakistan maintained that it is abiding by the judgment of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and blamed India for opting for delaying tactics in the case.
The IHC is hearing the review and reconsideration case of Jadhav following the verdict of the ICJ. India has called for the appointment of a Queen’s Counsel or an Indian lawyer in the case of Jadhav. However, Pakistan has maintained that only practicing lawyers in Pakistan will be available.
Pakistan claims to have arrested Jadhav in Balochistan province in 2016. He was later handed a death sentence after going through trial in Pakistani military courts. The decision was later brushed aside by the ICJ after India took up the matter at the highest level.
Pakistan claims that Jadhav has confessed to his crimes and that he was involved in terror activities, espionage and spying with an aim to spread unrest and claim the lives of Pakistani people.
“India is consistently making efforts to evade the Jadhav case,” the Pakistan foreign office spokesperson said.
After the ICJ verdict, Pakistan gave consular access to Jadhav. However, India has said that the consular meetings were interrupted and recorded with the presence of Pakistani security officials in the room.