Pakistan invites India to file review against spy’s conviction

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Islamabad (Reuters) – Pakistan said it invited India on Wednesday to file a review against a military court’s death sentence last year on former Indian navy commander Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav on charges of espionage and sabotage.

India had asked the United Nations’ International Court of Justice (ICJ) to intervene, calling the Pakistani trial unfair. The court ordered Islamabad last summer to conduct an “effective review” of the ruling, saying a “continued stay of execution” was needed for that to happen.

“While Commander Jadhav’s mercy petition is still pending, India is invited to file review and reconsideration petition to give effect to the Judgment of the International Court of Justice (ICJ),” Pakistan’s foreign ministry said in a statement.

India responded that Pakistan was dragging its feet on the world court’s order in letter and spirit.

“Despite our repeated requests, Pakistan continues to deny India free and unimpeded access to Shri Jadhav,” India’s external affair ministry said in a statement.

The ministry said India had repeatedly asked to allow a lawyer from outside Pakistan to appear for any review and reconsideration proceedings, but “Pakistan has denied it.”

Islamabad said Jadhav was arrested early 2016 in Pakistan’s southwestern province of Baluchistan, where nationalist and separatists groups have long waged a low level insurgency demanding a larger share in the mineral rich region’s resources.

Islamabad accuses India of backing the separatists groups, a charge New Delhi denies. Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has blamed India for last month’s attack on the Karachi stock exchange, which one of the separatist groups claimed to have launched.

The two South Asian nations have fought three wars since their independence from Britain in 1947.