NATIONAL

Clear and unambiguous verdict, says India

Tense courtroom:Deepak Mittal, Joint Secretary, External Affairs Ministry, at the International Court of Justice in The Hague on Thursday.AP

Tense courtroom:Deepak Mittal, Joint Secretary, External Affairs Ministry, at the International Court of Justice in The Hague on Thursday.AP  

India on Thursday claimed a major victory after the International Court of Justice in The Hague asked Pakistan not to execute former Indian Navy official Kulbhushan Jadhav, before the final decision of the court.

The External Affairs Ministry asserted that the verdict was binding and Islamabad needs to respect it.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj took to the social media to welcome the observations of the ICJ and praised the legal team led by eminent lawyer Harish Salve.

“The ICJ order has come as a great relief to the family of Kulbhushan Jadhav and people of India,” Ms. Swaraj said on her official Twitter handle which was retweeted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The External Affairs Ministry also noted that the ICJ’s verdict has been “unanimous”, “clear” and “unambiguous”.

Essential first step

“It is a matter of great relief that the ICJ has asked Pakistan not to execute Mr. Jadhav. The provisional relief is an essential first step in this case. The External Affairs Minister has assured Parliament that the government will do everything possible to ensure justice to Mr. Jadhav,” Ministry spokesperson Gopal Baglay.

Responding to comments by the Attorney General of Pakistan, Mr. Baglay said the ICJ’s verdict remains binding. “Hope the concerned authorities of Pakistan have heard that the order is legally binding,” he said.

The MEA received support from the Opposition with Anand Sharma of the Congress accusing Pakistan of breaking the Vienna Convention.

“The order of the ICJ must be respected by the state of Pakistan. Pakistan’s arguments before the ICJ and its refusal to accept the jurisdiction of the ICJ betrays a mindset of disrespect to the Vienna Convention which Pakistan has brazenly violated. Kulbhushan Yadav was unfairly denied access to consular officials or to legal assistance. The international community must bring pressure on the Pakistan government and its Army. The United Nations must take serious note,” said Mr. Sharma.

‘India vindicated’

The verdict was described as a “significant achievement” by former RAW official Rana Banerjee who said the ICJ’s position vindicates the arguments of the Ministry.

“The final arguments are yet to be heard but nevertheless it is a vindication that the MEA’s initial assessment of the case was right,” said Mr. Banerjee.

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