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Mumbai: Locals hold hawan for Kulbhushan Jadhav's 'safe return'

News Agencies | Updated on: 18 May 2017, 12:40 IST

With the entire India - from politicians to commoners - demanding suspension of the death sentence given to Kulbhushan Jadhav by the Pakistan Military court, locals in Mumbai held special prayers and ' hawan'. 

The people attending the prayers were seen carrying photos of Jadhav and banners that spoke of the support for him.

Talking to ANI, Jadhav's childhood friend Arvind Singh said he was hopeful that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) would give a verdict in India's favour.

"We all are praying that he is delivered justice. Almost everybody here is praying for him. We have been campaigning on various fronts for his safe return. We are very hopeful that the verdict is going to be in our favour. The way Salve ji has put his point, we are very hopeful," he added.

Hawans are also being held in other parts of the country including Varanasi and Patna among others.

The most-awaited judgement in regard with the case is all set to be pronounced today by the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

The Pakistan military court awarded death sentence to the former Indian naval officer on April 10 for alleged "espionage and subversive activities".

However, India, after being denied consular access for 16th time, dragged Pakistan to the ICJ on May 8 for violating the Vienna Convention.

India told the ICJ that immediate steps must be taken to stop Pakistan's from carrying out the death sentence of former Indian naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav. Demanding immediate suspension of Jadhav's death sentence, New Delhi expressed fear that Islamabad might execute the formal Naval officer even before the hearing of the ICJ was over.

Pakistan, on its part, told ICJ that the provisions of Vienna Convention on consular access were not applicable for a 'spy'. It also accused India of using the international body for political theatrics.

Arguing before the 11-judge bench at the ICJ, which included former Supreme Court Judge Dalveer Bhandari,India's counsel Harish Salve stressed that not granting consular access and not giving legal representation of Jadhav's choosing amounted to a "miscarriage of justice" and a "violation of his right" to defend himself from concocted charges in a "farcical trial".

India told the ICJ that immediate steps must be taken to stop Pakistan's from carrying out the death sentence of Jadhav.

Noted lawyer Harish Salve had told the court that India couldn't arrange for Jadhav's defence due to denial of consular access by Pakistan. He said India made innumerable requests for consular access, but Pakistan refused to provide documents relating to the case and consular access to him.

Pakistan raised the confession statement of Jadhav as a base of its argument and accused India of using the ICJ for its "political theatrics." India termed that the confession of Jadhav was forcibly taken by the military while in captivity and he was tried by a military court in Pakistan.

Pakistan's counsel Khawar Qureshi, while presenting Islamabad's stance in the ICJ on death sentence handed to Jadhav, said that the former naval officer entered Islamabad through Iran using a fake passport.

He told the court that Pakistan had given India all information regarding Jadhav's investigation, but didn't receive any response from New Delhi.

India demanded immediate suspension of Jadhav's death sentence but Pakistan presented the Kulbhushan Jadhav case as a matter of national security and the ICJ's decision would not apply to "matters related to the national security of Pakistan."

It will be a big success for India and a setback for Pakistan if the death sentence of Jadhav is suspended by the ICJ. Where on the one hand, India's hopes regarding Jadhav will revive, on the other, Pakistan's relations with the other nations will suffer, affecting the country multi-laterally and economically.


First published: 18 May 2017, 12:23 IST