The International Court of Justice on Thursday stayed the execution of Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav who has been sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of “spying”. 

The UN’s highest judicial body has ordered Pakistan to ensure that Jadhav was not executed pending a final decision by it. The news is being hailed as a major victory for India and media outlets are praising the government and its efforts in the provision of justice to Jadhav. 

While the country is celebrating the historic verdict, media organisations in Pakistan are calling it a ‘setback’, quite expectedly.

Here’s how media in Pakistan is reacting to the verdict:

  • Dawn: Setback for Pakistan

Dawn called it a setback for Pakistan but maintained that Pakistani officials are still confident of their chances. It reported that the Attorney General Ashtar Ausaf Ali said that the verdict hasn’t changed the status of the case against Jadhav. It also said that Pakistan would hire an ad-hoc judge in this special case which is as per the ICJ rules.

  • The Express Tribune: Pakistan handled it poorly

Express Tribune reported that legal experts in Pakistan blamed the Foreign Office for its poor handling of the case. Sartaj Aziz, Advisor to PM on Foreign Affairs also said that the verdict will have no impact on the trail against Jadhav.  

  • Pakistan Today: Plays down ICJ verdict

Pakistan Today interviewed Defence Minister Khawaja Asif who said that the issue is of Pakistan’s national security and there will be no compromise on it. 

He said that Jadhav who is a ‘RAW agent’ will be convicted after fulfilling all necessary legal procedures. He also said that ICJ only has a ‘formal stay in the case’.

  • The Nation: ICJ doesn’t matter

The Nation reported that ICJ does not have the jurisdiction over the case in Pakistan as it has no substance. It said that the ICJ intervention in the case is unnecessary as under a 2008 bilateral treaty, the right to consular access can be disregarded in the matters of national security. 

  • Geo News: Pakistan wasn’t prepared well

 Just like other media houses, Geo News emphasised the fact that Pakistan was not well prepared enough to face the proceedings.

A host of experts and lawyers, regarding the development told the channel that Pakistan shouldn’t have conceded the compulsory jurisdiction of ICJ and instead should have gone with its own judgment.

Overriding ICJ judgment, legal expert Rashid Aslam said, ”Pakistan is not bound to follow the decision of the International Court of Justice on Kulbushan Jhadav`s execution as the court`s decision is ‘advisory’. We can raise the jurisdiction question again. ICJ is not a criminal court. As many as three people were executed by the US contrary to the ICJ`s decision over it”.

  • Daily Times: Now, Pakistan can approach ICJ in future too

An op-ed column by Yasser Latif Hamdani in Daily Times, said that the ICJ decision was not surprising at all, given Pakistan’s weak jurisdiction. 

He further says that India’s decision to go beyond bilateral approaches should open up vistas for Pakistan in the future, but adds that in this case, “The best approach would be to ensure that Kalbhushan Jhadav is accorded an appeal process that is up to the highest possible standards of justice”.

  • Dunya News Pakistan: The order will help Pakistan eventually

Despite the ICJ decision, Dunya News Pakistan remaining hopeful, quoted Pakistan’s renowned lawyer Yasser Latif Hamdani who said Pakistan would benefit more from the decision by International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Jadhav’s case in the longer run.

“This case would help Pakistan, being the smaller party, in the longer run because India had now used a multilateral forum and it can’t back away from it tomorrow on similar grounds,” he argued.