Govt to table ICJ Review and Reconsideration Ordinance, 2020 in NA next week: Babar Awan

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ISLAMABAD: Adviser to the Prime Minister on Parliamentary Affairs Babar Awan has said the government will table the International Court of Justice (Review and Reconsideration) Ordinance, 2020 in the National Assembly next week for approval

“In no way has the national interest or security been compromised by the promulgation of this ordinance. Therefore, the political hullaballoo is not justified or fair,” he told The News.

If not passed, the ICJ Ordinance, which has a life of 120 days, would enable Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav to approach the high court for “review and reconsideration” of the sentence imposed on him by the military court.

Speaking about the timeline of the ordinance, Awan said it was given to the federal cabinet on May 15. “The cabinet passed it on May 18, while Prime Minister Imran Khan received it on May 19 and sent it to President Dr Arif Alvi next day for issuance of the ordinance,” he was quoted by The News as saying.

Awan added that the president promulgated the ordinance on May 21. The next step, he said, was to get it published in the extraordinary gazette, which was done on May 29.

The adviser added that by promulgating the ordinance, the country has only met its international obligations as “we are not living in an isolated place.”

“There is nothing clandestine about the ordinance as it was, in any case, to be laid before the Parliament for passage,” he said, adding that the government had nothing to hide from the people.

The ordinance states that if the ICJ in relation to foreign national passes an order in respect of rights under Article 36 of the Vienna Convention of Consular Relations of 24 April 1963 or a foreign national is aggrieved in respect of rights available under Article 36 of the Vienna Convention of Consular Relations of 24 April 1963, he either himself or through his authorised representative or through a consular officer of a mission of his country may file a petition before a high court for review and reconsideration with regard to an order of conviction or sentence of a military court operating under the Pakistan Army Act, 1952.

It adds that the petition for review may be filed within 60 days of the promulgation of this ordinance against the order of the military court existing prior to the issuance of this ordinance. Or it may be submitted within 60 days against an order of the military court if it has been delivered after the promulgation of this ordinance.

According to the ordinance, in deciding a petition, the high court shall examine whether any prejudice has been caused to the foreign national in respect of his right of defence, right to evidence and principles of a fair trial, due to denial of consular access according to Vienna Convention on Consular Relations of 24 April 1963.

The ordinance will have overriding effect. Its provisions shall have effect notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in any law for the time being in force, including the Pakistan Army Act 1952.

Commander Jadhav — an Indian Navy officer working for Indian covert agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) — was arrested on March 3, 2016, from Balochistan after he entered into Pakistan from Iran.

On 10th April, 20, Jadhav was tried in a military court, which sentenced him to death for espionage and subversive activities. On May 18, 2017, the ICJ ordered Pakistan to halt the execution of Jadhav until a final decision was made in the proceedings.

On July 17, the court rejected India’s appeal for Yadav’s release and asked Pakistan to suspend the execution. It ruled that Pakistan will have to review the entire process of trial and conviction of Yadav and provide India with consular access. Over the past few days, Pakistan granted consular access to India thrice.

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