Pakistan on Friday categorically rejected any possibility of allowing a Queen’s Counsel (QC) appointed by India to represent its spy Kulbhushan Jadhav, who is currently on a death-row in Pakistan.
“Allowing a Queen’s Counsel for Jadhav is out of question as only a lawyer with a licence 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.
A Queen’s Counsel is a barrister or advocate appointed as a counsel to the Crown on the recommendation of the Lord Chancellor.
India has recently called for the appointment of a Queen’s Counsel or an Indian lawyer in the case of serving navy Commander Jadhav which is 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 a death sentence by a military court after he confessed to being involved in terrorist activities.
In the ICJ — the top judicial organ of United Nations — Queen’s Counsel Khawar Qureshi and Harish Salve represented Pakistan and India, respectively.
The Spokesperson said India was consistently trying to evade the Jadhav case. Pakistan had already given “uninterrupted and unimpeded” consular access to Jadhav and is ready to extend the same in the future as well, he said. To a question on the induction of five French-made Rafale fighter jets into the Indian air force, the 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 weapons delivery platforms, and also warned of its “adverse effect 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 modernising its nuclear arsenal both in terms of type and number of delivery systems.
Asked if Pakistan was considering to make Gilgit-Baltistan its fifth province, he said political, economic and administrative reforms for GB is an ongoing process, which will continue as per the longstanding demand of its people.
He rejected the notion that such a step — if taken — would equate to 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 his comments were sought regarding Pakistan’s position on recognising Israel after UAE and Bahrain normalised ties with the country, the Spokesperson said: “There is no change in Pakistan’s principled position on Palestine.”
Chaudri said Pakistan welcomed the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet’s reiteration of serious concerns on unabated state perpetrated violence in Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir, including the indiscriminate use of pellet guns on civilians. On the Jodhpur incident, in which 11 Pakistani Hindus — including children — were found dead in 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).