- Kulbhushan Jadhav, 49, was arrested by Pakistan in March 2016
- He has been accused of espionage, a charge India has rubbished
- S Jaishankar today said India will continue efforts to ensure his safety
Foreign Minister S Jaishankar today said the International Court of Justice verdict in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case is "not only a vindication for India but all those who believe in the rule of law".
Kulbhushan Jadhav, 49, was arrested by Pakistan in March 2016 and accused of espionage, a charge India has rubbished. A year later, he was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court. The world court on Wednesday ruled that Pakistan must review the death sentence of Jadhav, a retired navy officer.
Describing Kulbhushan Jadhav's detention as "illegal", Foreign Minister today called upon Pakistan to "release and repatriate him immediately". "We once again call upon Pakistan to release and repatriate Kulbhushan Jadhav," Mr Jaishankar said as he spoke in the parliament on the verdict.
Denying India's request for access to Jadhav, Pakistan has repeatedly said New Delhi only wanted the information gathered by "its spy". A month after the former officer's death sentence, India took Pakistan to the world court, and the execution was stayed in May 2017.
Mr Jaishankar today said India will continue its efforts to ensure his safety. The family of Kulbhushan Jadhav has shown "exemplary courage", he added.
"His family has shown exemplary courage in difficult circumstances. I can assure the government will vigorously continue its efforts to ensure his safety and well being, as well as his early return to India," he said as other parliamentarians in the house thumped their desks in agreement.
Mr Jaishankar addressed both the houses of parliament on the Kulbhushan Jadav verdict.
The UN court on Wednesday also noted Pakistan had not informed Jadhav about his rights. "Pakistan deprived India of the right to communicate with and have access to Mr Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav, to visit him in detention and to arrange for his legal representation," the world court noted. There was a three-week delay in informing India about Jadhav's arrest, said the judge.
Rejecting all objections raised by Pakistan, the court also ordered consular access to Jadhav "without further delay", agreeing with India's stand that Pakistan had violated the Vienna Convention, a treaty concerning the international law on treaties between states, by denying that.
Mr Jaishankar highlighted the violation of Vienna Convention in his speech. "The International Court of Justice (ICJ) by a vote of 15-1 upheld India's claim that Pakistan is in violation of Vienna Convention on several counts," he said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday welcomed the judgement and said "truth and justice has prevailed". "We welcome today's verdict in the ICJ. Truth and justice have prevailed. Congratulations to the ICJ for a verdict based on extensive study of facts. I am sure Kulbhushan Jadhav will get justice. Our Government will always work for the safety and welfare of every Indian," PM Modi tweeted.
Pakistan has said it "will proceed as per law" in the case. "Appreciate ICJ's decision not to acquit, release and return Kulbhushan Jadhav to India," Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan tweeted today, claiming that the retired officer was "guilty of crimes" against the people of Pakistan. "Pakistan shall proceed further as per law," he wrote in his tweet.
(With inputs from PTI, ANI)