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WION Edit: Kulbhushan Jadhav verdict - Imran Khan should grasp the nettle

File photo: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan. Photograph:( AFP )

WION New Delhi Jul 17, 2019, 08.09 PM (IST) Written By: Shastri Ramachandaran

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling in favour of India in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case is a big diplomatic victory. Pakistan, held to have acted in violation of the Vienna Convention, has been asked to grant consular access to Jadhav. Pakistan is now also under obligation to provide effective review and reconsideration of the conviction and (death) sentence of Jadhav. That means the death sentence to Jadhav cannot be carried out. That's about the crux of the judgement.

Looking beyond the diplomatic and legal victory, what is most obvious are the worries in the aftermath of the ICJ verdict. One, Jadhav's trial will continue in Pakistan. Two, the trial will continue in the military court as the status of such a court is the same as that of a civilian court. Three, Jadhav, even with the comfort of consular access, could continue to languish indefinitely in prison. Four, in prison, Jadhav would be in danger of being killed by one or more of the criminal inmates. Five, in effect, the guarantee against judicial execution is no guarantee of the right to life as long as Jadhav is in a Pakistani prison.

The worries arising from the victory for India are both a challenge and opportunity for Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan. The challenge is to rise to the needs of the situation, which require Khan to grasp the nettle and assert that he can break out of the military-dictated mould by rising to political and diplomatic statesmanship.

He would win not just India's appreciation but near-universal acclaim and applause should he dare where the generals fear to tread and order the unconditional release of Jadhav. In doing so, he would be stealing the Pakistani army's thunder but also that of the ICJ, which has not gone beyond the established precedent of consular access.

(Disclaimer: WION Edit is the channel's take on the big events of the world)

Shastri Ramachandaran

The author, Editorial Consultant for WION, is a political and foreign affairs commentator.

Story highlights

The worries arising from the victory for India are both a challenge and opportunity for Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan