With just a day to go for the expiry of a 40-day deadline to challenge the death sentence given to Kulbhushan Jadhav, Indian officials said on Friday they do not know if Pakistani military authorities are even considering an appeal submitted by the former Indian navy officer’s mother.
Indian high commissioner Gautam Bambawale handed over two appeals from Jadhav’s mother – one to the Pakistan Army’s court of appeal against the death sentence, and another asking the Pakistan government to free Jadhav – when he met Pakistan’s foreign secretary Tehmina Janjua in Islamabad on April 26.
According to an official statement issued by Pakistan’s foreign policy chief Sartaj Aziz last month, Jadhav was sentenced to death for involvement in terrorism and espionage on April 10. The statement added he had the right to appeal to an army appellate court within 40 days.
“We had submitted the appeals filed by his mother to Pakistan’s foreign ministry. But there is no information on whether these appeals have been received by the authorities concerned and if any action is being taken on them,” an Indian government source told.
A source pointed out that while the deadline would expire on May 20, Friday is the last working day for the appeal to be taken up.
Even if the Pakistani appellate court rejects Jadhav’s appeal, he has two more opportunities to challenge the death sentence – he can file a mercy petition to the Pakistan Army chief within 60 days of the appellate court’s decision, and he can file another mercy petition with the president within 90 days of the army chief deciding on his appeal, Indian official said.
Shaiq Usmani, a retired judge of Pakistan’s Supreme Court, told the media that Jadhav’s case will go on in Pakistan until the ICJ gives it final decision. “But (Jadhav) cannot be executed until the stay order is there,” Usmani said.