Under fire from almost everyone at home after yesterday's Hague ruling in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case, the Pakistan government plans to set up a new team of lawyers to argue the case at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), Pakistani media reported.
The new team will "present Pakistan's stance vigorously" at the ICJ, said Sartaj Aziz, adviser to Pakistan's Prime Minister, several Pakistani media outlets reported.
Yesterday, the ICJ stayed Indian national Jadhav's execution until it hears and decides the case filed by India. Jadhav, who was "arrested" by Pakistan last year, allegedly in that country, was sentenced to death for "espionage" by a military court last year.
Pakistan's counsel had "courageously" presented the country's stance at the international court, Aziz said, according to The Express Tribune. "Pakistan's security is so important and we have to maintain our fundamental sovereign right," he added.
After the ICJ's ruling staying Jadhav's execution, opposition parties and sundry legal experts in Pakistan slammed the Nawaz Sharif government for even arguing the case in the international court.
"It is about time that Pakistan should review its strategy and hire a new legal team to defend the case in the ICJ, which has ruled its jurisdiction over the case despite the fact that Pakistan had recently entered a Revised Declaration under Article 36(2) of the statute of the ICJ on March 29, 2017," said a columnist in Pakistan Today.
This article added that the new clause excluded ICJ's jurisdiction on "all matters related to the national security of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan".
Immediately after the ICJ's ruling yesterday, a retired Pakistani judge told Dawn newspaper the court's decision was "alarming" because the "ICJ does not have jurisdiction".
"It's Pakistan's mistake to have appeared there. They shouldn't have attended. They have shot themselves in the foot," the retired judge, Shaiq Usmani, told Dawn.
An opposition politician, Shireen Mazari, had similar views. The Tehreek-e-Insaf politician said Pakistan could have withdrawn from being party to the Vienna Convention's optional protocol. A former Pakistan attorney general Irfan Qadir also expressed shock at the ICJ's decision.
"The lawyers handling these matters had no experience. The arguments had no weight. They should have been presented in a rational manner," Qadir told Dawn. "We need a dedicated team for Pakistan, loyal to the country. Pakistan's jurisprudence has been ruined because of this." Another opposition leader, the Pakistan People's Party's Sherry Rehman also criticised Pakistan's legal team. "We based our case on jurisdiction and it proved weak. More arguments should have been made regarding espionage," Rehman said. Yet another jurisdiction-based argument came from a senior Pakistani lawyer who didn't wish to be named.
"If Indians could show reservations over the ICJ jurisdiction on Kashmir, Pakistan might also adopt the same approach in the matter related to the trial of terrorists by civilian and military courts," the lawyer told The Express Tribune.