Pakistan court appoints three senior lawyers as ‘amici curiae’ in Kulbhushan Jadhav’s case

A top Pakistani court has named three senior lawyers as ‘amici curiae’ in the case of Kulbhushan Jadhav as it ordered the Pakistan government to give “another chance” to India to appoint a counsel for the death-row prisoner. 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.

India approached the International Court of Justice against Pakistan for denial of consular access to Jadhav and challenging the death sentence. The Hague-based ICJ ruled in July 2019 that Pakistan must undertake an “effective review and reconsideration” of the conviction and sentence of Jadhav and also grant consular access to India without further delay.

A two-member bench of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) comprising Chief Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb appointed the three lawyers on Monday as it held a hearing of the petition filed by the Pakistan government to appoint a lawyer for Jadhav.

Amicus Curiae is a lawyer appointed by a court to assist in any matter or case. The court also ordered a larger bench to be set up for the case. It also directed the registrar of the court to fix the proceedings at 2 pm on September 3 before a larger bench.

“We appoint Abid Hassan Manto, Hamid Khan, Senior Advocates of the Supreme Court and former presidents of the Supreme Court Bar Association, and Makhdoom Ali Khan, Senior Advocate Supreme Court and former Attorney General of Pakistan, as amici curiae for our legal assistance in general and, in particular, to ensure that the judgement of the International Court is effectively implemented,” the court said in its order.

The Pakistan government in its petition has claimed that Jadhav refused to file a review petition or an application to reconsider the verdict against him by the military court.

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