New Delhi/ Islamabad: Pakistan is planning to amend its Army Act in order to permit imprisoned Indian former naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav to file an appeal in a civilian court against his death sentence.
This is in line with the International Court of Justice’s (ICJ) verdict in July. A Pakistani military court had in April 2017 sentenced Jadhav on charges of espionage and sabotage.
Currently, under the Army Act individuals are forbidden from filing an appeal in a civilian court against cases under trial in Pakistani military courts.
Officials in Islamabad said Pakistan’s government has already prepared a draft to amend Army Act.
However, it will only be applicable to the ICJ’s judgments. The amendment is apparently to help determine the legal procedure of filing an appeal against military court decisions.
But on Wednesday evening, Pakistan Armed Forces spokesperson and director general of Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) Maj. Gen. Asif Ghafoor claimed that while "various legal options for review and reconsideration of the case are being considered", the "speculation for amendment in the Pakistan Army Act to implement the ICJ verdict regarding ... Kulbhushan Jadhav are incorrect".
He added, "The final status shall be shared in due course of time."
Islamabad claims that Jadhav was apprehended by Pakistan law enforcement agencies on March 3, 2016 after he illegally crossed over into Pakistan and that he engaged in espionage, terrorist and sabotage activities aimed at destabilising and waging war against Pakistan. New Delhi has consistently rubbished these claims as false and baseless. India says that Jadhav was kidnapped from Iran, where he was carrying on business after retiring from the Indian Navy, and was then shown to have been arrested in Balochistan" on 3 March 2016."