ISLAMABAD   -  Pakistan yesterday said the verdict of International Court of Justice in convicted Indian spy Kulbushan Jadhav’s case was a victory for Pakistan.

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that the ICJ verdict in Kulbhushan Jadhav case vindicated Pakistan’s stance.

“Commander Jadhav shall remain in Pakistan and he shall be treated in accordance with the laws of Pakistan,” he said as India made counter claims on winning the case at the ICJ.

The ICJ did not direct Pakistan to release Jadhav or overturn his sentence. However, Islamabad has been asked to give him consular access and give him the option of review in sentence.

Speaking at a news conference here after the ICJ verdict, FM Qureshi said: “This is a clear victory for Pakistan. We believe in the rule of law and we will implement law.”

He said India wanted the ICJ to overturn Jadhav’s death sentence and hand him over to India but the court rejected the plea.

“We were of the view that Jadhav is a convicted terrorist. He confessed being a spy. The ICJ has given the right of review to the convicted spy but Pakistan will decide on that. We will not compromise on national integrity,” he added.

Qureshi said Jadhav was given the right to move the high court and Supreme Court against the decision. “He also filed a mercy appeal,” the FM reminded.

He said the ICJ did not overturn the Pakistan military court’s decision which indicated it was based on a justice system. “Pakistan is a responsible state and we have never violated rules,” he maintained.

Separately, the Foreign Office said that the ICJ in its judgment decided not to acquit or release Indian serving Naval Commander Kulbhushan Jadhav thus not accepting Indian plea.

In a statement, Foreign Office spokesperson Dr Mohammed Faisal said that Pakistan, as a responsible member of the international community, upheld its commitment from the very beginning of the case by appearing before the court for the provisional measures hearing despite a very short notice. He said having heard the judgment, “Pakistan will now proceed as per law.”

The spokesperson said: “It is reiterated that Indian Naval Commander Kulbhushan Jadhav entered Pakistan without a visa on authentic Indian passport with a fake alias Hussain Mubarak Patel.”

He said Kulbhushan Jadhav was responsible for acts of sabotage, espionage and multiple terrorist incidents in which scores of Pakistani citizens were killed resulting into umpteen women being widowed and numerous children becoming orphans.

Dr Faisal said Jadhav had confessed all these acts during his trial in Pakistani court in front of a Judicial Magistrate. He said “this is a clear case of Indian state terrorism.”

Jadhav, a serving commander of the Indian Navy associated with Indian spy agency Research and Analysis Wing, was arrested on March 3, 2016, from Balochistan on allegations of espionage and terrorism.

In his subsequent trial at a military court, Jadhav had confessed his involvement in terrorist plots. The spy was sentenced to death in 2017. In June 2017, the Indian spy had filed a mercy petition against the death penalty, in which he again confessed to his involvement in terrorist activities.

However, the ICJ, after being approached by India, had ordered a stay in his execution through an interim order.

During the hearing of the case in the international court, Attorney General of Pakistan Anwar Mansoor Khan had argued that Jadhav was an Indian spy sent to Balochistan to destabilise the country.

The ICJ rejected remedies sought by India, including annulment of military court decision convicting Jadhav, his release and safe passage to India.

The operative had contacts with banned organizations and was working on plans to break Karachi and Balochistan away from Pakistan, and to sabotage the billion dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project.

On April 10, Army Chief Qamar Javed Bajwa confirmed his death sentence awarded by Field General Court Martial. The spy was tried under Pakistan Army Act and awarded death sentence.

He confessed before a Magistrate and the Court that he was tasked by RAW to plan, coordinate and organize espionage, sabotage activities aiming to destabilize and wage war against Pakistan by impeding the efforts of Law Enforcement Agencies for restoring peace in Balochistan and Karachi.