Pakistan set to amend Army Act for Kulbhushan Jadhav to appeal

WION New Delhi, Delhi, India Nov 13, 2019, 01.30 PM(IST) Written By: Anas Mallick , Sidhant Sibal

File photo: Kulbhushan Jadhav. Photograph:( Others )

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The amendment, if passed, will be a major reform process which can make the Pakistan military court more transparent.

Pakistan plans to amend the Army Act, section 133 which will give Kulbhushan Jhadav right to appeal in a civilian court and opening the door for India to provide legal aid to him.

Section 133 of the Pakistani Army Act provides provision for the appeal but only in a "Court of Appeals consisting of the Chief of the Army Staff..." or the court of appeals consisting of Brigadier or Major General but can't appeal in a civilian court.

Through the amendment, the verdicts of military courts would now be challenged in a civilian court within a timeframe of six months. In the case of Kulbhushan Jadhav, his six months appeal time would start from the day of International Court of Justice(ICJ) judgement and not his initial sentence that was on April, 10, 2017.

There hasn't been any reaction from India since the amendment is still to take place, but it could be considered a positive development in the case given that Pakistan still has to fully implement the ICJ order. 

The amendment, if passed, will be a major reform process which can make the Pakistan military court more transparent because the amendment opens the gate for others in Pakistan to appeal against the military court orders and judgements.

On April, 26, 2017, the High Commission of India in Islamabad had transmitted to Pakistan, on behalf Jadhav’s mother, an “appeal” under Section 133 (B) and a petition to Pakistani government under Section 131 of the Pakistan Army Act. India received no information on the status of the appeal.

Earlier this year, New Delhi had achieved a major diplomatic victory at the ICJ with the world court calling Pakstan to "provide Indian consular officers access to him in accordance with Article 36 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations."

On September 2, India got its first consular access for Kulbhushan Jhadav in three years with Indian deputy high commissioner (DHC) Gaurav Ahluwalia in Islamabad meeting Jadhav him for two hours. 

The Indian diplomat found Jhadav under "extreme pressure to parrot a false narrative to bolster Pakistan’s untenable claims", according to release issued by India's Ministry of external affairs.