The ICJ setback

The ICJ setback

While the ruling of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) comes as a setback for Pakistan, all is not lost. Pakistan had argued for the rejection of the Indian plea on the grounds that the Court lacked jurisdiction in the matter since Jadhav's execution was not imminent and the petition was not maintainable. India, for its part, pressed for the provisional measure during the single round of oral observations. The 10-member bench of the Court unanimously ruled that it had jurisdiction and restrained Pakistan from executing convicted Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav until a final verdict was granted.

Firstly, Pakistan's argument on the jurisdiction question 0was weak and should have, instead, focused on the provisional measures in the case under Article I of the Optional Protocol of the Vienna Convention, which provides that the "the Court has jurisdiction over disputes arising out of the interpretation or application of the [Vienna] Convention."

While India has declared victory after the decision, Pakistan is still confident about its chances. Attorney General Ashtar Ausaf Ali maintained that the ICJ decision had not changed the status of Jadhav's case in any manner, contending that the Indian spy has ample time to petition for clemency - the main argument included in the Court's decision for ensuring provisional measures. But the Court judgment maintained that "Pakistan has given no assurance that Mr Jadhav will not be executed before the Court has rendered its final decision," which does conflict AG's statement on the issue and possibly resulted in the Court ruling that "a plausible risk of irreparable prejudice" as Pakistan has only indicated that any execution of Mr Jadhav would probably not take place before the month of August 2017, which means that there is a risk that an execution could take place at any moment thereafter, before the Court has given its final decision in the case.

While India has succeeded getting an interim order to stay the execution of Kulbhushan Jadhav, the case is not over yet, and both media, as well as other political parties, must refrain from passing judgement at this point. While the analysts and other political parties are justified in raising valid concerns, they must keep in mind it's the State of Pakistan that is being represented at the court, not the government or a political party.

Lastly, the decisions of the ICJ are binding, even though it has no means to ensure compliance. Although, there have been instances where powerful countries refused to comply and got away with it, a country such as Pakistan may not be in a position to ignore the ruling, as it can affect Pakistan's standing in world adversely.  *