India will continue efforts for Jadhav's release

Last Updated: Thu, Jul 18, 2019 14:00 hrs
S Jaishankar

New Delhi: Stating that Kulbhushan Jadhav is innocent of the charges hurled against him, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar said on Thursday that the government will ensure his safety and early return to India.

By a vote of 15:1, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Wednesday stayed the execution of Jadhav. The sole dissenting judge was from Pakistan.

"Yesterday's judgement is not only a vindication of India and Jadhav but of all those who believe in the rule of law and the sanctity of international treaties," Jaishankar stated in both the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.

The Minister said Jadhav was innocent of the charges made against him. Further, his forced confession without legal representation and due process would not change this reality.

"We once again call upon Pakistan to release and repatriate him forthwith," he said.

Both the Houses were assured that the government would vigorously continue its efforts to ensure Jadhav's safety and well-being as well as his early return to India.

In its judgment, the ICJ said Pakistan had breached the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.

Pakistan was also found to have deprived India of the right to communicate with Jadhav, have access to him, visit him in detention and arrange his legal representation.

A former Navy officer, Jadhav was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of "espionage and terrorism" after a closed trial in April 2017.

The ICJ has stayed the execution of the death sentence. It has emphasized that the review and re-consideration of the conviction and sentence must be effective.

In his statement, Jaishankar said the government had made untiring efforts in seeking Jadhav's release, including through legal means.

After the ICJ order, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that truth and justice had prevailed and that his government would always work for the safety and welfare of every Indian.