The article originally appeared on India Today.

According to a Geo News report, Khawar Qureshi, the lawyer representing Pakistan at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), has blamed the Indian government for the ‘baseless propaganda’ surrounding the case fee he charged, something that became a rallying point for many on the social media to poke fun at him. What exacerbated his misery was the obvious comparison with Harish Salve, the Indian counsel in the case, who took just Re 1 as his court fee, a symbolism of his commitment to his motherland.

The lawyer, who has been blamed by many experts and politicians in Pakistan for not preparing well for the case and leaving many loopholes in his arguments, told Geo News that “references to his fees were complete lies fabricated by Indian Twitterati and Indian nationals behind such baseless propaganda may have government backing”.

The ICJ decision yesterday, staying execution of Kulbhushan Jadhav by Pakistan till the case was underway in the UN court, saw a rush of tweets on how a highly paid but ill-prepared Pak lawyer could not stand the legal wisdom of Harish Salve who charged just Re 1. The speculation on Twitter about his fees was largely based on media reports from Pakistan that quoted his fees for the case at around 5,00,000 British Pound, i.e., a whopping 7 crore in Pak currency and around 4.25 crore in Indian currency.

So, even if Qureshi says that “his fees were not even 10 per cent of what the Indian propaganda suggests” and even if he justifies the amount he charged by saying he “cancelled another professional commitment with another government to travel to Pakistan urgently”, he would always find it difficult to justify even this reduced gap, i.e., at 10 per cent of the claims being made, between Harish Salve’s Re 1 winning gesture to his Rs. 42.5 lakh case fee, especially when he wasted 40 minutes of the 90 minutes given to his team to present its side of the arguments. To add to Qureshi’s misery, Indian team under the leadership of Salve used its full 90 minutes.

Qureshi might have given “a 30 per cent reduction on his fees, besides covering the cost of two of his juniors’ fees”, as he claims, the bottom line is, he is being slammed in Pakistan for mishandling the case and his high fees, even at 30 per cent discount, is not giving him any room to breathe easy because Pakistan has made Kulbhushan Jadhav’s case a prestige issue and the yesterday debacle saw a mourning like atmosphere there.

It is true that the ICJ has given only an interim stay of Jadhav’s execution and Pakistan and Qureshi say they have enough evidence to prove their case in the course of hearing, the truth of the moment is, India has scored a clear diplomatic victory over Pakistan and a moral boost for further case proceedings at the ICJ.

Earlier in the day, a news came from Pakistan that it was going to have a new legal team for the case, but now Pakistan has filed a plea in the ICJ to rehear the case within six weeks with reports saying that Qureshi will continue to represent Pakistan. So, now that Qureshi is going to remain there, he has now the opportunity to silence his critics, both on his legal acumen in the case and on his exorbitant fee. Let’s see if he can match Harish Salve.



The article originally appeared on India Today.
Here is it bit modified and extended.

Though Pakistan is trying to put up a defiant face in the wake of the adverse ruling by the International Court of Justice that has stayed Kulbhushan Jadhav’s hanging till it reaches to a conclusion, its opposition has started slamming Nawaz Sharif and his government for mishandling the situation that has led Pakistan to this humiliation. The ICJ has directed Pakistan to “take all measures at its disposal to ensure that Jadhav is not executed pending the final decision in these proceedings”.

Though based on fallacious premises that the Pak legal team at the ICJ was ill-prepared or couldn’t get time to prepare, whereas it is amply clear with today’s observations by the ICJ that Pakistan’s arguments had no legal viability, the opposition in Pakistan is training its guns on Nawaz Sharif and is asking him to reply to the nation on the fiasco.

According to a Dunya News report, main opposition parties of Pakistan, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), have sought Sharif’s reply as well as have demanded him to urgently convene a National Security Committee (NSC) meeting.

PPP’s Sherry Rehman, a former foreign minister of Pakistan, has blamed the Sharif government of ignoring a ‘case pertaining to national security’ as his government ‘government remained stuck in Panama Leaks SC case’.

PTI has blamed the Sharif government of working for vested interests and hidden motives that ultimately proved so damaging. PTI’s chief Imran Khan has said that “the nation demands Sharif family disclose all its financial interests/assets abroad especially with Jindal in India and that “Pakistan cannot afford to have its security jeopardised by the Sharifs’ financial interests abroad”.

This is another line of thought in Pakistan that the Sharif government colluded with the Narendra Modi’s government of India to let it happen as Jadhav was sentenced to death by its military court bypassing the concerns of its civilian establishment which initially believed that the case against Jadhav was based on mere statements and more evidence was needed, as Nawaz Sharif’s Foreign Affairs Advisor Sartaj Aziz had informed the Pak Senate in December 2016. Visit of Indian businessman Sajjan Jindal, who is a common friend of Sharif and Modi and is seen as an interlocutor between the two PMs, to Nawaz Sharif’s personal house last month has only added to this line of thought.

India had approached the ICJ on May 8 and the UN’s judicial arm had agreed to conduct a public hearing of the matter on May 15 staying Jadhav’s hanging till further orders. After the May 15 hearing, the court read out it order yesterday that accepted India’s arguments and prayers and put an interim stay on Jadhav’s death sentence till a final conclusion. Though Pakistan has said that the ICJ has no jurisdiction in the matter and the ruling has not changed Pakistan’s position on Jadhav’s sentence, the ICJ ruling is being seen as an Indian victory and Pakistan’s humiliation in the diplomatic circles.


On April 10, a Pak military sentenced Kulbhushan Jadhav to death after convicting him for espionage and sabotage activities in Pakistan. Pakistan claims Jadhav, who allegedly used the alias Hussein Mubarak Patel in Pakistan, was attached to the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW). Pakistan arrested Jadhav in March 2016.

The Indian government has maintained that Kulbhushan Jadhav is a former Indian Naval officer turned businessman who was on a routine business trip to Iran when he was abducted by Pakistani intelligence. Reports say he was captured by the Taliban and later sold to the Pakistan Army. India repeatedly demanded consular access to Jadhav but Pakistan always denied it, a point that the ICJ highlighted in its ruling yesterday. The ICJ clearly said that Pakistan had committed a mistake by doing so.

India has also said that Jadhav is innocent and there is no evidence against him and that Pakistsan carried out a sham, secret trial in a military court where no information on charges and evidence was given. India has warned Pakistan of ‘dire consequences’ equalling Jadhav’s death sentence with pre-meditated murder and has time and again asked for the consular access to him.