Pakistan rejects India’s call for Queen’s Counsel to represent Jadhav

Kulbushan Jadhav

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has categorically rejected any possibility to allow a Queen’s Counsel by India to represent convicted spy Kulbhushan Jadhav currently on a death row for espionage and terrorism.

At his weekly press briefing in Islamabad, Foreign Office Spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri said allowing a Queen’s Counsel for Jadhav is out of question as only a lawyer with licence to practice in Pakistan can appear before the court.

India has recently called for the appointment of a Queen’s Counsel or an Indian lawyer in the case of serving navy Commander Jadhav pending with the Islamabad High Court for review following the verdict of the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

A Queen’s Counsel is a barrister or advocate appointed as Counsel to the United Kingdom’s Crown on the recommendation of the Lord Chancellor.

The spokesperson said India is consistently making efforts to evade the Jadhav case. He said Pakistan has already given uninterrupted and unimpeded consular access to Jadhav and is ready to extend the same in future as well.

Replying to a question regarding induction of five French-made Rafale fighter jets into India Air Force, the spokesperson termed the development disturbing and also warned of its adverse effect on strategic stability in South Asia.

India has invoked the Commonwealth grounds to end the debate over the appointment of a counsel for Jadhav. India on Thursday called for the appointment of an Indian lawyer or a Queen’s Counsel in his death sentence review.

India’s Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said the government of Pakistan has not been able to fulfill its obligations on the implementation of the ICJ judgment in letter and spirit.

The Foreign Office had earlier objected to an Indian defending Kulbhushan Jadhav in Pakistani courts.  Earlier this month, Attorney General Khalid Javed Khan, when asked whether the Indian mission in Islamabad can engage an Indian lawyer, had said only Pakistani lawyers who are entitled to practice in the country will be allowed.

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