Fearing change of judges, Pakistan requests early hearing at ICJ

Pakistan has asked the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to hold an early hearing in the case of Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav, who has been sentenced to death by a military court, a media report said on Tuesday. The Express Tribune reported that the Pakistan Foreign Office had sent a letter to the ICJ’s registrar, expressing Pakistan’s desire for a quick hearing, preferably over the next few weeks.

“Pakistan wants the hearing to be held in the next six weeks,” a senior official was quoted as saying by the Express Tribune. The request was made in view of the upcoming elections for ICJ Judges, scheduled to be held in November, it quoted the sources.

The report comes just days after the ICJ stayed the death penalty of Kulbhushan Jadhav. Jadhav had been handed a death penalty by a Pakistani military court. Legal experts were beginning to wonder why Pakistan wants to appoint a foreigner as an Adhoc judge when every state prefers to nominate its own lawyers , the report said. They are calling on the attorney-general’s office to consult local lawyers before finalizing a legal strategy in this regard, it said.

Pakistan Bar Council’s (PBC) executive member Raheel Kamran Sheikh expressed concern over Pakistan’s abysmal success rate in international arbitration at just 2%. He pointed out that India’s success rate was 60%.

“We have lost important cases at international forums over the past couple of years, while spending more than a billion rupees in lawyer fees,” he said. A senior official in the attorney-general’s office was quoted as saying that although India got the stay on Jadhav’s execution, Pakistan would win the case. “We are in no hurry to execute him as he is making more disclosures,” he claimed.

India and Pakistan last faced off at the ICJ 18 years ago when Islamabad sought its intervention over the shooting down of its naval aircraft.

Credit: Hindustan Times

Tony Joseph