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Give India another chance to appoint lawyer for Kulbhushan: Pak

New Delhi: A high court in Pakistan on Thursday directed the federal government to give India another chance to appoint a lawyer to represent death-row prisoner Kulbhushan Jadhav as it adjourned hearing for a month.

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) took up the case of appointment of lawyer for Jadhav to hear the review of the death sentence given to him by a Pakistani military court.

Jadhav, the 50-year-old retired Indian Navy officer, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of “espionage and terrorism” in April 2017.

Attorney General Khalid Javed Khan told the court that to comply with the orders of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), Pakistan granted consular access to India, however, it has not replied to Pakistan’s offer to appoint a lawyer for him.

The IHC, after hearing the arguments, ordered the government to send its order on Jadhav to India and adjourned the hearing until October 3 when the case would be heard again.

Pakistan has introduced a special law to allow Jadhav to get his sentence reviewed as asked by the ICJ.

India approached the ICJ against Pakistan for denial of consular access to Jadhav and challenging the death sentence.

The Hague-based ICJ ruled in July last year that Pakistan must undertake an “effective review and reconsideration” of the conviction and sentence of Jadhav and also to grant consular access to India without further delay.

Pakistan claims that its security forces arrested Jadhav from the restive Balochistan province on March 3, 2016 after he reportedly entered from Iran. India maintains that Jadhav was kidnapped from Iran where he had business interests after retiring from the Navy.

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India asks Pak to reduce its High Commission staff by 50%

New Delhi/Islamabad: In a strong diplomatic offensive, the government has decided to reduce the staff of Pakistan’s High Commission in India by 50 per cent, in view of their espionage activities and links with terror groups.

India will reciprocally reduce its own presence in Islamabad to the same proportion. The decision is to be implemented in seven days.

The move comes after two Indian High Commission officials in Islamabad were abducted on gunpoint and tortured by Pakistani security agencies. A statement from the Ministry of External Affairs said that the government summoned the Charge d’ Affaires (CDA) of Pakistan and informed him about its decision related to the Pakistan High Commission.

India has repeatedly expressed concern about Pakistan High Commission officials indulging in espionage activities and maintaining dealings with terror outfits. The government recalled the recent case where two Pakistani visa officials were caught red-handed and expelled for spying last month.

The statement said that while the Pakistani officials indulged in actions that were not in conformity with their privileged status in the High Commission, Pakistan has in parallel engaged in a sustained campaign to intimidate the officials of the Indian High Commission in Islamabad from carrying out their legitimate diplomatic functions.

The government pointed out the recent case of the two Indian High Commission officials in Islamabad, who were kidnapped and subjected to torture.

“Their severe ill treatment underlines the extent to which Pakistan has gone in that direction,” the government told the Pakistani CDA.

The officials returned to India on Monday and have now provided “graphic details of the barbaric treatment that they experienced at the hands of Pakistani agencies,” the statement said.

The behavior of Pakistan and its officials is not in conformity with the Vienna Convention and the bilateral agreements on the treatment of diplomatic and consular officials, the government said.

“On the contrary, it is an intrinsic element of a larger policy of supporting cross-border violence and terrorism,” it said.

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