ISLAMABAD – Pakistan on Friday categorically rejected any possibility to allow a Queen’s Counsel by India to represent its spy Kulbhushan Jadhav, currently on a death-row in Pakistan.
“Allowing a Queen’s Counsel for Jadhav is out of question as only a lawyer with license to practice in Pakistan can appear before the court,” Foreign Office Spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudri said at a press briefing here at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
India has recently called for appointment of a Queen’s Counsel or an Indian lawyer in the case of serving navy Commander Jadhav pending with the Islamabad High Court for review and reconsideration following the verdict of International Court of Justice (ICJ).
Jadhav was arrested from Balochistan in 2016 and was handed over death sentence by a military court after his confession of involvement in terrorist activities. In Jadhav’s case in ICJ – the top judicial organ of United Nations – the Queen’s Counsel, Khawar Qureshi and Harish Salve, represented Pakistan and India, respectively.
A Queen’s Counsel is a barrister or advocate, appointed as Counsel to the United Kingdom’s Crown on the recommendation of the Lord Chancellor.
The FO Spokesperson said India was consistently making efforts to evade the Jadhav case. Pakistan had already given “uninterrupted and unimpeded” consular access to Jadhav and was ready to extend the same in future as well, he said.
Zahid Chaudri confirmed that Prime Minister Imran Khan would virtually address the United Nations General Assembly on September 25 with the issue of Jammu and Kashmir high on the agenda.
He said due to the restrictions imposed by the local government in New York, there would be no in-person high-level participation from outside. He said Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi would also participate virtually in the high-level meeting of the General Assembly to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the United Nations.
To a question on induction of five French-made Rafale fighter jets into India Air Force, the FO Spokesperson termed the development “disturbing” where India continued to amass military capabilities beyond its genuine security requirement.
He stressed that Rafale jets were dual-capable systems that could also be modified as nuclear weapon delivery platforms, and also warned of its adverse affect on strategic stability in South Asia.
He expressed Pakistan’s concern over the arms build-up being aided and abetted through a policy of exemptions, waivers and supply of advanced equipment, technology and weapons for narrow commercial interests. Even prior to tensions with China, he said, India had been expanding and modernizing its nuclear arsenal both in terms of type and number of delivery systems.
Asked if Pakistan was considering making Gilgit Baltistan its fifth province, he said political, economic and administrative reforms for the GB was an ongoing process, which would continue as per longstanding demand of its people.
He rejected the notion that Pakistan’s such step, if taken, would equate India’s change in the status of Jammu and Kashmir. “The difference between the two situations is that India’s act is an illegal occupation with persistent violations of human rights, however, Pakistan will always comply with the UN resolutions and aspirations of the people,” he said.
When sought comments of Pakistan’s position as more Islamic countries hinted of recognizing Israel, the FO Spokesperson said, “There is no change in Pakistan’s principled position on Palestine.”
On recent developments, he said Pakistan’s approach would be guided by evaluation of how Palestinians’ rights and aspirations were upheld, and how regional peace, security and stability were preserved.
“We have an abiding commitment to the full realization of the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, including the right to self-determination,” he said.
Zahid Chaudri said Pakistan welcomed the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelete`s reiteration of serious concerns on unabated state perpetrated violence in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK), including indiscriminate use of pellet guns on the civilians.
He said Pakistan strongly condemned continued Indian attempts to illegally change the demographic structure of IIOJK, and mentioned that reportedly Indian authorities had distributed over 1.68 million domiciles to non-Kashmiris.
“The Indian actions are in clear violation of the UN Security Council resolutions and international law, including the 4th Geneva Convention,” he said.
The FO Spokesperson said this year, India had committed 2280 ceasefire violations to date, resulting in martyrdom of 18 and serious injuries to 183 innocent civilians.
On the Jodhpur Incident in which 11 Pakistani Hindus, including children, were found dead under mysterious circumstances on August 9, he called upon India for a comprehensive investigation of the matter and share copies of the First Information Report (FIR).