The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has ordered Pakistan to allow India consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav, an Indian citizen convicted of espionage in Pakistan.
The judgment, delivered byICJ President Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf, to a packed court at The Hague on Wednesday, however, rejected India's demand that Jadhav's conviction by a military court be dismissed.
The court also extended a stay on the execution of Jadhav pending a Pakistani legal review and reconsideration of the conviction based on the ICJ's ruling that Jadhav's rights to consular access were violated.
Pakistan contended that Jadhav did not have a right to consular access because he had been convicted of espionage and "terrorism", but the court ruled that Article 36 of the Vienna Convention on consular relations was applicable.
The convention was applicable "regardless of the allegations that Mr Jadhav was engaged in espionage activities"."The Court therefore concludes that Pakistan has breached the obligations incumbent on it under […] the Vienna Convention, by denying consular officers of India access to Mr Jadhav, contrary to their right to visit him, to converse and correspond with him, and to arrange for his legal representation," said Yusuf.
Wednesday's ruling has been seen by both sides as a win, with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulating the ICJ for "a verdict based on extensive study of facts"
Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, however, claimed it was a "victory" for Pakistan while confirming that Islamabad will not be releasing Jadhav.
Later on Wednesday, Pakistan's Foreign Office released a statement saying "Indian Naval Commander Kulbhushan Jadhav entered Pakistan without a visa on authentic Indian Passport with a fake alias Hussain Mubarak Patel".
"Commander Kulbhushan Jadhav is responsible for acts of sabotage, espionage and multiple terrorist incidents in which scores of innocent Pakistani citizens were killed resulting into umpteen women being widowed and numerous children becoming orphans.
"Commander Kulbhushan Jadhav has confessed all these acts during his trial in Pakistani court in front of a Judicial Magistrate. This is a clear case of Indian state terrorism."