ICJ Jadhav case: BJP, Congress question lawyers’ integrity

India a.k.a. Modi government recorded one of its “major” diplomatic victories at the International Court of Justice by getting a stay in the famous Kulbhushan Jadhav’s case. While Indian media, populace and the government celebrated the favorable verdict, Pakistan questioned ICJ’s very Jurisdiction in the this case and her social activists and some lawyers are reported to condemn Islamabad’s plan of action, preparation and its decision of not granting consular access to Jadhav. The two neighbours and enemies are all heated-up with anger and joy. Meanwhile, something else happened, that caught people’s attention at both sides of the border.

Since back at home in India, BJP has struck a homerun with the verdict, the party raised some serious questions against Congress lead UPA government’s role in the Enron case of 2004. BJP’s spokesperson GVL Narsimha Rao pointed that Congress had engaged Khwar Malik, a Pakistan-origin lawyer as its attorney in 2004. Interestingly Malik was debating against India in Jadhav’s case at ICJ recently. BJP alleged Congress to be involved in some foul play by changing their lawyer at the last minute during Enron case consequentially leading into India’s loss.

Spokesperson also told that UPA disrespected the public sentiment by engaging a Pak-origin lawyer who didn’t argue India’s case seriously and eventually undermined India’s chances of a victory. He said “why it is that Congress likes Pakistan so much that it disregarded the public-sentiment and patriotism?” “What was the need to engage Malik in this case while Harish Salve is India’s leading counsel at the ICJ?” This statement comes in the wake of Harish Salve’s victorious representation against the same lawyer representing Pakistan in Jadhav case.

As an obvious defense against the accusations Congress claimed that they were working with a law firm and not a particular lawyer. They were working with Fox and Mandal the firm decided to engage one of their best counsel. Congress also said that Mandal is BJP’s national executive member and that ultimately puts even their intentions under questions.

While the accusations battle goes on in order to save their respective skins when it comes to designing India’s foreign policy and diplomatic stand, Congress and BJP don’t take in consideration the fact that one doesn’t have to pull someone down in order to lift themselves up. Both the sides in this fight have totally ignored that they are maligning integrity of a lawyer and his commitment towards his profession. In their accusational war, they are destroying people’s faith in the lawyer fraternity around the world.

New Delhi’s decision to pursue the case at the highest level possible has given a humane yet strong stand angle into Modi government’s strategy. However, the party is determined to extract profit out of this by employing the easiest method of accusing its rival.

BJP was a strong opposition party during the Enron case took its course and very well aware about the developments of the case that of national importance. Since BJP chose to ignore the ‘anti-national’ and ‘unpatriotic’ move at that time its raising the 13 year old case issue just indicates that this one is a politically motivated move to make the maximum out of recent victory of ‘Modi Government’. Public sentiment towards Pakistan hasn’t changed much than what it was in 2003. BJP in opposition was almost duty-bound to raised these questions at that time, while Enron case still held relevance and they could’ve made a positive impact at the outcome of the case.

Congress too in their befitting response in their defense has done the same thing as BJP. They have also accused working with the same firm and dragged a lawyer’s commitment to the guillotine. While the PoA could be questioned, it can’t be pointed that the lawyer or a law firm deliberately engaged in an action against the side they were representing just because they are Pakistanis and not Indian.

What these two political arch-rivals and opportunists have completely ignored is that matters before the ICJ that engages itself with a matter of life and death of a citizen are not supposed to be used as a political propaganda. Any legal representation leading to a loss or victory in sensitive case is open for criticism content-wise but not when it comes to professionalism. Hate mongering for political gains may bring short-term profits but it maligns the very basis of public faith in international law which holds more importance today than ever.

Many Pakistani citizens come to India seeking better medical and surgical treatments. And if a Pakistani citizen’s life is lost every attempt done by an Indian doctor to save his life, would that doctor be blamed for ignoring responsibility in a crucial case because his patient was from an enemy state?

Professional reputations are built by going beyond the geographical, national, personal or mental borders. Any failure in a medical treatment or loss in a case affects a professional’s rapport negatively besides personal feeling of defeat. These political parties need to rethink their PR and marketing strategies before tearing apart professions and systems which serve the humanity and which have been brought in place with a lot of pain and hardwork.


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