The International Court of Justice (ICJ), the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, has finally released the verdict regarding the Indian spy, Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav. Interestingly, the judgment has been celebrated on both sides of the border, one claims that the court’s order to grant the Research & Analysis Wing (RAW) agent consular access vindicates it, while the other believes that the World Court’s purported rejection of India’s demand to release and acquit him is its victory. So, ostensibly it is a win-win situation for all three parties (including the ICJ) so far.
Regardless of the fact that who is the winner and who is the loser, the fate of the case still hangs in the balance and it seems to continue for years to come and only God knows how many years. Indian Navy Commander “Jadhav will remain in custody of Pakistan”.
“A continued stay of execution constitutes an indispensable condition for the effective review and reconsideration of the conviction and sentence of Mr. Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav,” the ICJ has announced.
Spokesperson of the media wing of Pakistan’s military, Director General Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Asif Ghafoor said the ICJ judgment validated the military courts. He said the ruling was another February 27 for India (when Pakistan shot down two Indian jets for trespassing into Pakistani airspace and captured one Indian pilot).
It has been more than three years since Jadhav is in Pakistan’s custody.
A timeline of the events that unfolded:
On March 3, 2016: In a counter-intelligence operation, security forces of Pakistan arrested Kulbhushan Jadhav from Balochistan on allegations of espionage and terrorism. A fake passport was recovered from his possession with pseudo name of Hossein Mubarak Patel. He was presented before media as a proof of Indian interference and state-sponsored terrorism inside Balochistan and Karachi.
On March 25, 2016: During Field General Court Martial trial, the spy had confessed to his involvement in terror activities. He had claimed to be a serving Indian Navy officer though.
The same day, India denied that he was a spy and claimed that he was a former Navy officer. It also sought a consular access to him.
On April 8, 2016: Pakistan had lodged a criminal complaint against the convict.
On June 16, 2016: Iran responded to the Pakistani government’s reservations as the spy was rounded up while trying to enter Balochistan from Iran.
On January 23, 2017: Pakistan sought cooperation from India in investigation.
On April 10, 2017: Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa had endorsed the death sentence for Jadhav, after the court sentenced him to death. India deemed the sentence as “pre-meditated murder”.
On May 8, 2017: India moved the ICJ against Pakistan and sought consular access.
On May 18, 2017: The ICJ issued stay order on execution of Jadhav.
On June 22, 2017: The RAW agent in a video statement confessed to working with the banned militants outfits in Balochistan to carry out subversive activities. He also sought clemency from the chief of army staff over his execution.
On November 10, 2017: Pakistan offered a meeting between the convict and his wife and mother on humanitarian grounds.
On December 25, 2017: Jadhav met his mother and wife at the Foreign Office of Pakistan.
On January 6, 2018: An article published by Indian news website, The Quint, which said that Kulbhushan Jadhav was a spy of the RAW, was retracted within few hours.
On February 2, 2018: An article published in an Indian magazine, Frontline, admitted that he may be a serving Indian Navy officer.
On February 19, 2019: The ICJ began four-day public hearing. New Delhi asked the court to nullify the spy’s conviction.
On July 4, 2019: The international court announced that the final judgement in the case will be delivered on July 17.
On July 17, 2019: The ICJ announced its ruling saying that Jadhav be granted consular access. It also urged Pakistan to review the death sentence.
However, most of India’s appeals, most importantly regarding his release and acquittal, were rejected.
Click here to read the complete judgement.