ICJ stays alleged Indian spy Jadhav's execution by Pakistan



BY S VENKAT NARAYAN
Our Special Correspondent


NEW DELHI, May 18: India today heaved a collective sigh of relief after the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague in The Netherlands stayed the execution of Kulbhushan Jadhav by Pakistan.


Pakistan claims he is an Indian spy and has sentenced him to death.


Political leaders hailed the order, and the former navyman's friends erupting in joy and bursting firecrackers.


Harish Salve, India's attorney at ICJ, the UN's highest judicial body, came in for fulsome praise by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and a host of other leaders for his strong defence of Jadhav, facing gallows in Pakistan after a military court summarily convicted him of espionage and engaging in subversite activities.


In a big relief for India, the ICJ today asked Pakistan to take all "necessary measures at its disposal" to ensure that Jadhav was not executed pending a final decision by it.


India had moved the UN's highest judicial body against the death sentence to Jadhav after Pakistan ignored its request for consular access to the former navyman 16 times.


According to Pakistan, Jadhav was seized by its security forces in the restive Balochistan province on March three last year after he reportedly entered from Iran. India has disputed the claim and said Jadhav was kidnapped from Iran where he had business interests.


Soon after the 11-judge ICJ bench unanimously stayed Jadhav's execution, Modi telephoned Mrs Swaraj, thanked her and appreciated Salve's efforts in securing a fresh lease of life for the former naval officer, officials said.


An apparently relieved Swaraj took to twitter to tell people about the "great relief" she felt and vowed to "leave no stone unturned" to save Jadhav from the gallows.


"The ICJ order has come as a great relief to the family of Kulbhushan Jadhav and people of India.


"We are grateful to Harish Salve for presenting India's case so effectively before ICJ. I assure the nation that under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi we will leave no stone unturned to save (him)," Swaraj said in a series of tweets.


Meanwhile, Salve, the man being feted by the nation, said the first round of victory at the ICJ has "emboldened" and "invigorated" India.


Salve, who took a token one rupee as fee to appear in the case in which "India had a lot at stake", said he felt a positive energy and connect with judges while arguing the matter.


"As a lawyer for 40 years, you get a feel of how judges are reacting. I felt a positive energy when I was arguing the case. I felt judges were connecting. I felt gratified. I did not feel that connection when the other side was arguing," he said.


In Mumbai, where Jadhav grew up, his tense friends and well wishers had prayers on their lips as they waited with bated breath for a favourable ICJ order.


They organised a 'Ganesh puja' to propitiate the elephant-headed God, one of the most worshipped and revered for his power to remove obstacles and bring good luck.


As their prayers got answered, his friends at the Silver Oak Apartments in Powai burst crackers and chanted slogans like 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai' and 'Vande Mataram'.


The friends of the embattled soldier had earlier launched a signature campaign to build public pressure on Pakistan to secure Jadhav's release. Some local politicians also joined in the celebrations.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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