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SOURCE: INDIA TODAY

All defence counsels in Pakistan, who were chosen by the Islamabad High Court, have refused to represent Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav who has been charged with espionage and has been given the death penalty.

Islamabad High Court had sought assistance from two seniormost lawyers in Pakistan, Abid Hassan Minto and Makhdoom Ali Khan. Both have expressed regret and refused to appear on behalf of Kulbhushan Jadhav. They informed the Registrar’s office about their decision.

While Abid Hassan Minto said he has retired and no longer practices law, Makhdoom Ali Khan cited prior engagements.

India has requested that Kulbhushan Jadhav be represented by an Indian lawyer or the Queen’s counsel. However, Pakistan Foreign Office said Pakistan has rejected India’s demand for an Indian lawyer or a Queen’s counsel.

Meanwhile, India maintains that Pakistan had to first fulfil its obligations of adhering to the ICJ (International Court of Justice) ruling in letter and spirit.

“The Government of Pakistan has not been able to fulfil its obligations on implementation of the ICJ judgment in letter and spirit. It has not yet addressed the core issues, which includes the provision of all documents related to the case, providing unconditional and unimpeded consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav and appointment of an Indian lawyer or a Queen’s counsel to ensure a free and fair trial,” MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava had said at last week’s press briefing.

The matter of appointment of defence counsels for Kulbhushan Jadhav is slated to be heard by a larger bench of the Islamabad High Court comprising Chief Justice Athar Minallah, Justice Amir Farooq, and Justice Mian Gull Hassan Aurangzeb on October 6 at 2 pm.