Whose victory is it anyway? How Pakistan media covered ICJ judgement on Kulbhushan Jadhav
- Pakistani media has hailed the ICJ verdict as India's loss
- The news sites in Pakistan said ICJ reject 'all remedies sought by India'
- International media, however, focused on ICJ's orders to Pakistan review the trial
As India celebrated the Kulbhushan Jadhav judgement by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Wednesday, Pakistan claimed its own victory.
The narrative in the Pakistan media paints a different picture of the judgement than the one shown by our domestic media.
"ICJ rejects India’s plea for Kulbhushan Jadhav’s acquittal," said the headline in Pakistan Today. The news site claims that the ICJ verdict says Jadhav’s conviction and death sentence doesn’t violate Vienna Convention and the court 'rejected all other remedies sought by India'.
The Express Tribune which carried at least eight stories on Kulbhushan Jadhav on its website's home page said that with the ICJ judgement "all Indian hopes of seeking remedies through international arbitration dashed".
Quoting Pakistani Army's spokesperson Major General Asif Ghafoor, the Express Tribune said that the ruling validated military courts.
Speaking to ARY News, Major General Asif Ghafoor claimed that the ICJ judgement was "another February 27 for India".
On February 27, a day after India's surgical strike on Balakot terror camps, Pakistan Air Force's F-16 jets had entered the Indian airspace, but were chased away by India's MiG 21 jets. In an aerial dual, India's Abhinandan Varthaman shot down an F-16 jet, before being hit. Both the pilots had crash-landed in Pakistani territory. While India managed to get Abhinandan back through diplomatic pressure, Pakistani locals reportedly beat up their own pilot mistaking him as Indian. According to reports at the time, he was hospitalised for severe injuries.
Pakistan had earlier claimed that their jets never entered the Indian airspace but later changed their statement. Their airspace remained closed for all international flights for the following 140 days.
Pak daily, The News, highlighted that the ICJ verdict on Kulbhushan Jadhav does not grant his release or retrial. "The ICJ said that even though it had found Pakistan in violation of Article 36 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (VCCR), "it is not the conviction and sentence of Mr. Jadhav which are to be regarded as a violation of Article 36 of the Vienna Convention"," the news organisation said.
The report added: "The ICJ said the most it could do was to order Pakistan to cease violation of Article 36 and review the case in light of how that violation may have affected the case's outcome."
Dawn also gave extensive coverage to the news, leading with the headline "ICJ rejects India's plea for Jadhav's return, grant consular access".
Even as the site declared victory for Pakistan in the verdict, it carried an explainer "'Pakistan didn't fail': 5 things you should know about ICJ's decision on Jadhav".
How international media reported Kulbhushan Jadhav verdict
The international media reports focused on the ICJ's directive to Pakistan to review its death sentence to Kulbhushan Jadhav.
"World Court Orders Review of Pakistan Death Sentence for Indian Convicted of Spying", The New York Times's headline said. The Washington Post story on the judgement said: "Alleged Indian spy on death row in Pakistan wins reprieve from execution".
British media also focussed on the part of the ICJ judgement which went in India's favour. "UN court orders Pakistan not to execute Indian man accused of spying" The Guardian said in its report.
Interestingly, reports in Arab media like Gulf News and The Khaleej Times also highlighted that the Pakistan has been asked to review its order and Kulbhushan Jadhav's death sentence has been suspended.
What the verdict says
India had challenged the death sentence awarded to Indian citizen Kulbhushan Jadhav by Pakistani military court on the basis that it Article36 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, 1963. India accused Pakistan of:
1) Not informing India of Jadhav's detention,
2) Of not informing Jadhav of his rights under the Vienna Convention,
3) Declining access to Jadhav by consular officers of India.
India had requested the court to:
1) Declare the military court's trial violated Vienna Convention,
2) Direct Pakistan to release Jadhav and allow safe passage to India,
3) Direct Pakistan to take steps to annul the decision of the military court,
4) Direct a trial under the ordinary law before civilian courts.
The international court, in its verdict, said that Pakistan did violate the Vienna Convention by denying the consular access to Jadhav and by not informing him of his rights.
The court directed Pakistan to inform Jadhav "without further delay of his rights and to provide Indian consular officers access to him". The ICJ also asked Pakistan to review how the violation of the Vienna Convention might have affected the trial according to its own justice system.
The court finally considers that a continued stay of execution constitutes an indispensable condition for the effective review and reconsideration of the conviction and sentence of Mr.Jadhav, reads a statement issued by ICJ.