India has failed to appoint counsel for Kulbhushan Jadhav, says Islamabad High Court; next hearing on Nov 9

New Delhi (ILNS): The Islamabad High Court has said that India has failed to appoint a counsel to represent death-row prisoner Kulbhushan Jadhav in the case of the review of his death sentence by a military court in Pakistan.The three-judge bench of Chief Justice Athar Minallah, Judge Aamer Farooq and Judge Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb observed that the government of India has not made any attempt “to approach this Court directly, despite opportunities extended in this regard.”The Islamabad High Court had last month set a new deadline for India to appoint a legal representative for Jadhav.

The Court asked the Attorney General of Pakistan Khalid Javed Khan to help determine if the court can appoint a legal representative for Jadhav without India’s approval and whether the appointment of a lawyer by the court would provide a satisfactory mechanism for an effective implementation of the judgment in the case.

Earlier, India had requested that Kulbhushan Jadhav be represented by an Indian lawyer or the Queen’s Counsel, but Pakistan has continuously rejected this demand of India. 

Jadhav was arrested on March 3, 2016, in Balochistan on charges of alleged espionage, and sentenced to death by a military court the following year.In 2017, India approached the ICJ against Pakistan for denial of consular access to Jadhav and challenging the death sentence handed to him by a military court.In August, the IHC formed a three-member larger bench at the government’s request to appoint a lawyer for Jadhav for his appeal against the death penalty.

Meanwhile, two senior most lawyers in Pakistan, Abid Hassan Minto and Makhdoom Ali Khan have expressed regret and refused to appear on behalf of Kulbhushan Jadhav.

However, the two lawyers submitted a reply to the court saying that it was a matter of honour for them to be appointed as judicial assistants.The court has adjourned the hearing in the case till November 9.

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