THE HAGUE: Thursday was the last day of the Kulbhushan Jadhav case hearing at the Peace Palace in The Hague. Khawar Qureshi, representing Pakistan, began his final rebuttal before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) by an unapologetic explanation of why Pakistan had to resort to “trenchant observations” in its rejoinder regarding India. Articulate and not one to mince his words, Qureshi once again chastised India for living in “wonderland” and persisting to the very end in seeking to “distract and deflect attention from its failure to answer critical questions by levelling accusations against Pakistan”.
India claims this case is only about denial of consular access whereas “it’s far from it”, claimed an uncharacteristically unrushed Qureshi. He found it absurd how India was reduced to equating the words of the Lahore High Court Bar Association secretary to the official position taken by the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. He addressed what he termed as India’s “Kidnap Fiction” by highlighting Dr Mittal’s failure to identify any attempt by India to engage with Iranian authorities regarding Kulbhushan Jadhav’s alleged kidnapping. “Providing explanation will expose the fiction,” claimed Qureshi.
The Queen’s Counsel spoke of yet another attempt by India to mislead the court with the mention of “photographs” of its officials. There was only one photograph shown by Pakistan in the court, that of Indian national security adviser Ajit Doval. It was “illuminating” how India never denied the contents of his February 2014 speech at any point. India’s confusion with regards to whether there were 18 or 40 MLA requests was another example of its deflection. Another instance of “playing fast and loose with words”, according to Qureshi, was India referring to words such as “clinching and convincing and unimpeachable” for Indian journalists; words never used by Qureshi at any point.
“Have we come to so what?” inquired a bewildered Qureshi with reference to India’s consistent disregard of the passport issue and claiming it has no legal consequences. According to Khawar Qureshi, “submissions were based on clear, compelling, un-contradicted evidence”. It was in fact, rhetoric that has been used by India “by way of pure and hollow response on this issue”. It’s a “catch me if you can” mindset, said Qureshi, whereby “India seeks to twist the facts and break the law to suit its purpose, brazenly trampling on red lines”.