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Jadhav albatross in Pak army’s neck

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By K.N. Pandita

Pakistan was over confident of its safe passage at The Hague. Therefore the unanimous ruling that laid bare its Jadhav conspiracy came as a rude shock.

What had made Pakistan over-confident? Usually in a conflict between India and Pakistan, western community follows the roadmap chartered by the US. Therefore anti-India stance comes handy. Besides that Pakistan believes she has the new born big brother, too, is on her side.

Pakistan’s surprise is not only that ICJ ruling went against her; it is more that her old friends let her down.

In the aftermath of ICJ verdict, Pakistani ruling circles are trying to pass the buck. The crisis is that Islamabad is alleged to have failed in streamlining the fallacious structure of Jadhav episode raised by the Army and its intelligence establishment.

Deepening divide in Pakistan’s domestic politics is the natural outcome of falsehood exposed and lies laid bare. ICJ says in its verdict that the charges of espionage and subversion leveled against Jadhav are disputable.

ICJ ruling has produced immediate reaction in the opposition in Pakistan National Assembly. Many freelancers and especially Pakistan Tahreek-i-Insaf led by Imran Khan have openly accused Nawaz Sharif of deliberately compromising country’s security. Fissures have deepened to the extent that Pakistan’s shameful debacle at the ICJ was the result of a covert deal linked with the recent unpublicized visit of Indian steel tycoon Sajjan Jindal to Pakistan.

Jindal’s earlier visits to Pakistan and his undisclosed meetings with Nawaz Sharif have hit the headlines in many newspapers in Pakistan. However, nobody has been able to prove that these visits had anything to do with politics and more so Indo-Pak politics. What is known is that Jindal and Nawaz Sharif both are steel tycoons with widespread commercial interests:

  • Tahreek-i-Insaf party Information Secretary Shafqat Mehmood has demanded the PM disclose all details of his covert meetings with Indian businessmen Jindal.
  • In a statement, he raised seven critical questions on the matter and sought explanation from the prime minister. He asked the PM to explain to the National Assembly (I) why Pakistan did not appoint an ad hoc judge because it had a right to do so; (ii) why the Foreign Office did not take legal advice before initiating correspondence on the issue; (iii) why the government had selected a lawyer who had not a single international law case reported from the UK Supreme Court; (iv) what was the reason to engage London Queen’s Counsel (QC) who was based in Qatar; (v) why the government assigned the task to a lawyer who had never argued a case independently before the International Court of Justice; (vi) what compelled the government to send a first year associate from Attorney General’s Office instead of AG himself to the ICJ and (vii) why the government did not submit a written defence before May 15. He added that the decision was a clear outcome of the rendezvous of Mr. Sharif and his Indian friend Jindal.
  • Sharpening its attack on the Prime Minister, the PTI leader claimed that Pakistan did not focus fully on the crucial question about the jurisdiction of the ICJ; He draws the inference that the government deliberately adopted an irresolute and fragile strategy in this matter.
  • Dr Shirin Mazari, another PTI leader and an expert on international relations, said she was not surprised by the judgment at all and accused the PML-N government of deliberately playing the game to advance the interests of India. “They wanted the ICJ to give a stay. This was a game which started after Jindal’s visit to Pakistan,” she alleged.
  • She stated that not withdrawing acceptance of ICJ jurisdiction showed that an understanding had been arrived at with the Indians. She regretted that the Qatar lawyer engaged by Pakistan was nothing more than a novice at the ICJ where Indian legal veterans overshadowed the Bench.
  • Driving one more nail in Pakistan’s coffin Shirin said the Pakistani legal team supported India on the issue of urgency by saying that Jadhav would be executed in three months instead of explaining the appeal process and review. She said Jadhav was a prized asset for the Indian government as he was not just a spy but a spymaster running his cells.
  • Sherry Rehman, PPP Vice President indirectly supported the theory of Nawaz Sharif government compromising Pakistan’s stand. She questioned why Pak counsel completed his arguments in 50 minutes against the allocated time of 90 minutes. She added that Pakistan should have got appointed its ad hoc judge under the relevant rules.
  • PML-Q leader Senator Kamil Ali Agha described the ICJ decision as the biggest diplomatic defeat. He said the available options had not been used and asked the prime minister to explain why the case had been mishandled.
  • However, he conceded that the ICJ had jurisdiction over the cases where both the parties consented. He noted that Pakistan had the option to stay away from the proceedings. He alleged that the entire drama had been staged as a result of Nawaz Sharif’s meeting with Jindal.

If Pakistan opposition feels that Nawaz Sharif government deliberately soft paddled with Jhadav case to let down Pakistan Army, then the Army should act and avenge its humiliation in the eyes of world community by removing Nawaz Sharif government through a coup in which it is an adept.

The verdict of ICJ is virtually a slap on the face of Pakistan army. How long will Pakistan army move around with albatross of humiliation hanging round its neck is what is to be seen in near future.