Kulbhushan Jadhav
Indian officials have appealed to the United Nations to order Islamabad to halt the execution of Kulbhushan Jadhav.

THE HAGUE (Diya TV) — Lawyers and other officials from India and Pakistan are squaring off at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague over the impending execution of an alleged Indian spy by Islamabad.

Pakistan’s military sentenced Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav, a retired Indian naval officer, to death last month on charges of espionage and sabotage. No date has yet been set for the execution, Islamabad have said his conviction and sentence remain open to appeal.

India argued during a Monday preliminary hearing at the top UN court that Pakistan violated the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations by denying Jadhav access to legal assistance. New Delhi, which denies Jadhav is a spy, has asked the ICJ to declare the verdict illegal and order Pakistan to release him.

“It is clear that Mr Jadhav has been denied the right to be defended by a legal counsel of his choice. He has not been informed of his right to seek consular access,” Deepak Mittal, India’s representative at the hearing, said.

Mohammad Faisal, Pakistan’s representative, pegged India’s complaint as “political theater.” He accused India of “time-wasting and political grandstanding”, adding that the court should decline jurisdiction in the case.

Ronny Abraham, the court’s president, said the tribunal would publicly deliver its decision on whether to grant an emergency stay of execution “as soon as possible.”

According to Islamabad officials, Jadhav confessed to receiving orders from India’s intelligence service to plan, coordinate and organize espionage and sabotage activities in the Balochistan province “aiming to destabilize and wage war against Pakistan.”

Mittal said the charges against Jadhav were “concocted” and his trial “farcical.” Pakistan has failed to respond to all Indian demands for information about the case, ignoring requests for documents, including the charge sheet, he added. But Faisal, the Pakistani representative, argued that consular access is not an absolute right under the Vienna treaty.

Jadhav was arrested in Balochistan in March last year, according to Pakistan, but New Delhi insists he was kidnapped from Iran, where he was running his business.