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What To Expect From Pakistan Following ICJ Ruling On Kulbhushan Jadhav

Published on 18 May, 2017 at 9:38 pm By

The stay order on the death sentence of Kulbhushan Jadhav by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) is a major win for India indeed, but it is like winning a battle and not a war.

On May 18, the ICJ told Pakistan not to hang Jadhav till the UN court at The Hague issues a final verdict on the same.



Indian school children holding photographs of Kulbhushan Jadhav calling for his release. EPA

Of course, the ruling was celebrated across India and left Pakistan disappointed. So till the final verdict is given towards the end of August, Jadhav is not going to the gallows.

But Pakistan is a nation that has a habit of playing foul.

Given Pakistan’s post-independence history, it is hard to expect the country to behave responsibly towards matters of international law when it itself is largely a lawless nation.


Fundamentalist mobs such as these kill minorities and burn homes with impunity across Pakistan without fear of law.

Islamabad has now officially stated that it doesn’t accept the judgement.


Foreign Office spokesman Nafees Zakaria told a Pakistani channel: “We do not accept the jurisdiction of the ICJ in matters related to the national security of the country.”

Expected. The Pakistani government cannot go against or force the powerful military of the country to follow democratic principles because the government itself is under the thumb of the military. Jadhav was sentenced by a military court not a civilian one.


Pakistani military officials at a press conference after Kulbhushan Jadhav’s alleged arrest. Anjum Naveed/Associated Press

Analysts, the media and the lawyers in Pakistan are brutally slamming the country’s argument at the ICJ. But they also believe that the case is not yet over because the final verdict is yet to be given.

In spite of ICJ’s clear words that the provisions are binding, some Pakistani lawyers are arguing that the verdict is merely an advisory and is not binding.

Voices calling for Jadhav’s hanging recalled how in 1999 the US defied a similar ICJ verdict and executed a German national named Walter LaGrand.

But Pakistan cannot go on such a misadventure. There is a huge difference between Pakistan and the US. Praising India’s argument in the ICJ, Geo News anchor Muneeb Farooq warned that Islamabad should be ready for “implications” if it defies the ICJ verdict.

In fact, the UN law states that sanctions against a country can be called if it violates ICJ ruling.



But many Pakistanis are demanding the hanging of Jadhav; they have been expressing the same on Twitter under the hashtag #PakistanisRejectICJ.

So sentiments in the country, where fundamentalism has a strong base and are supported by the military establishment, are very much against the ICJ decision.

Here now comes a thought-provoking tweet posted by Subramanian Swamy:

Swamy is referring to how Pakistan slyly got Indian prisoner Sarabjit Singh killed inside a Pakistani prison.

Sarabjit was sentenced to death for an alleged bomb blast. His family and the Indian government maintained that he was not a spy but had strayed into Pakistani territory in August 1990.

In jail for 22 years, Sarabjit was attacked by inmates inside the Kot Lakhpat Jail in Lahore on April 26, 2013, a few months after the hanging of Afzal Guru in India. He died six days later.


A file photo of Sarabjit Singh. India Today

Yet a lot has changed since 2013. India has never been as aggressive as it currently is in matters of foreign affairs.

New Delhi has reached a position of power on the global stage in the last three years. Its aggressive stance on the international stage has actually left Pakistan on the backfoot.

The military establishment in Islamabad is aware that its relations with long-time ally the US, too, is not the same as it was till only a few years ago.


With frosty relations with old allies and increasing international pressure because of terrorist havens on its soil, Pakistan is slowly coming closer to isolation with just one ally left – China.


And India is in a complete mood to bring Kulbhushan safely back home. Having won the battle, New Delhi confidence that it will win the war is justifiable.


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