Islamabad court orders government to allow India to appoint lawyer for Kulbhushan Jadhav

In this file photo, former Indian navy officer Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav is seen on a screen during a news conference at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Islamabad on Dec. 25, 2017. (REUTERS)
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Updated 03 August 2020

Islamabad court orders government to allow India to appoint lawyer for Kulbhushan Jadhav

  • The former naval commander was arrested in 2016 in Pakistan’s southwestern province of Baluchistan and convicted of espionage
  • India took the matter to the International Court of Justice which ordered a stay on Jadhav’s execution in 2019

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad high court on Monday ordered the Pakistan government to give India a ‘chance’ to appoint a representative for Kulbhushan Jadhav, an Indian man condemned to death on charges of spying, Pakistani media reported.
Former Indian Naval Commander Kulbhushan Jadhav was arrested in 2016 in Pakistan’s southwestern province of Baluchistan and convicted of espionage and sabotage by a Pakistani military court a year later.
India took the matter to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) which ordered a stay on Jadhav’s execution in 2019, as well as consular access for India. Pakistan was also ordered to conduct an “effective review” of the death penalty.
Indian officials say they have been prevented from obtaining Jadhav’s written consent to arrange legal representation, necessary for a review of his case. Earlier this month, Pakistan invited India to file a review against the death sentence in light of the ICJ judgment.
A two-member bench comprising IHC chief justice Athar Minallah and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb heard a petition filed by the Pakistan government to appoint a lawyer for Jadhav on Monday.
Responding to the judge’s remarks, Pakistan’s Attorney General Khalid Javed Khan said an ordinance had been passed by parliament recently to give an opportunity to India and Jadhav to file a review petition against the sentence.
“We will contact India again through the Foreign Office,” he said.
Under the ‘International Court of Justice Review and Reconsideration Ordinance 2020’, which was enacted on May 20, a petition for the review of a military court’s decision can be filed with the Islamabad high court through an application within 60 days of its promulgation.
The Pakistan government has said Jadhav refuses to file a review petition or an application to reconsider the military court’s verdict.
Indian external affairs ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said last week Pakistan had blocked all avenues for effective remedy available to India in the Jadhav case, saying New Delhi has so far requested consular access to Jadhav for 12 times over the past one year.


Pakistan to establish 18 markets on Afghanistan, Iran borders to boost trade, curb smuggling

Updated 18 September 2020

Pakistan to establish 18 markets on Afghanistan, Iran borders to boost trade, curb smuggling

  • Under the plan, the government will set up 12 markets along the border with Afghanistan and six along the Iran frontier
  • Prime minister approves setting up two border markets in Balochistan and one in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa by February next year

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan government has decided to set up markets along its borders with neighboring Afghanistan and Iran to boost trade opportunities, foster peace and check smuggling, the commerce ministry said on Friday.
Main crossing point into Pakistan for both goods and people from Iran and Afghan also serve as major smuggling routes.
“The border markets will help create job opportunities and establish a peaceful relationship with the neighboring countries,” Aisha Humera Moriani, joint-secretary at the Ministry of Commerce, told Arab News.
Under the plan, the government is establishing 18 markets: 12 along the border with Afghanistan and six along the Iran frontier.
In a meeting on Thursday, Prime Minister Imran Khan approved setting up two border markets in Balochistan and one in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province as a pilot project, to be functional by February next year.
Moriani said the markets would contribute to local development and help the government address “smuggling and boost legal trade across the border.”
Pakistan is fencing its borders with Afghanistan and Iran to check cross-border militancy, illegal movement of people and smuggling, which is a major source of income for people living along border towns and villages.
Sardar Shoukat Popalzai, President Balochistan Economic Forum, said the government should have built “common markets” along the Afghanistan and Iran borders with the mutual consent of the neighboring governments to maximize benefits for people on both sides of the borders.
“The government has not released a feasibility report, if there is any, of these markets as to how are they going to help the local population,” he told Arab News.
Popalzai said Balochistan border areas were sparsely populated and establishment of a few shopping terminals would “hardly make any difference in the lives of the people.”
He said cross-border smuggling was a major source of income for people living in the frontier areas of Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, so “this requires a lot more effort than mere setting up of markets to check this undocumented economy.”
Zubair Motiwala, chairman of the Pak-Afghan Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the government should establish cold storages and warehouses in the border markets to boost the export of perishable and other items to the neighboring countries.
“The taxation system on the exports and imports of different items through the land routes should be well defined to encourage businessmen and locals to boost the legal trade with Afghanistan and Iran,” he said.