Dawn – Sikhs donate palanquin for holy book at museum

Shoaib Ahmed

Lahore, 25 May 2017. The Sikh community on Wednesday donated to the Lahore Museum a metallic palanquin with a wooden base for the Guru Granth Sahib, the religious book of the Sikhs, officials told Dawn.

Officials said 10 members of the Sikh Sangat donated the palanquin. The Guru Granth Sahib kept at the museum belonged to the times of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. The community members performed a ritual while placing the holy book in the palanquin, which had been brought from Amritsar to be permanently placed at the museum.

The Sikh community members lauded the efforts of the museum administration for properly preserving heritage of this region, particularly of the Sikh community.

Lahore Museum Additional Director Naushaba Anjum told Dawn that the event went really well. The museum contains a rare collection of artefacts linked to the Sikh community, especially from the time of Ranjit Singh. These artefacts could not be found anywhere in the world, she claimed.

The palanquin was placed in the ongoing exhibition of Sikh artefacts, Naushaba said, adding that the museum was considering declaring the general gallery where the exhibition was taking place as the Sikh gallery.

Though the exhibition was to conclude on May 30, but after the donation of the palanquin it would remain on display in August too, she said.

The exhibition featured paintings, weapons, intricate woodwork among a host of other items.

The museum features a rich collection of Sikh artefacts, including gold, silver and copper coins, as well as Ranjit Singh’s gold medals, miniatures including portraits of Sikh spiritual and political figures, clothing, furniture from the royal court, royal decrees and Sikh holy books.

The Lahore Museum is the ‘wonderhouse’ that figures in ‘Kim’ and of which Rudyard Kipling’s father was the director. The last time I visited, the famous Zamzama gun on which Kim and his friends played was still to be seen outside the Museum


Dawn – My visit to Bulleh Shah’s tomb made me feel an otherworldly sense of peace

Sidra Zia

A few months ago, I had assigned a task to my students to bring in any poetic verse or prose in Punjabi, or just introduce themselves to the class in that language. The idea was simply to get them interested in a regional language, but it soon turned into a project where we worked on developing our own interpretations of Bulleh Shah’s poetry.

It was heartening to see how the teenagers in my class found the verses of a 500-year-old saint relatable with their 21st century life.

Coincidentally, my friend who is the founder of Saraab, an organisation formed to document the hidden variants of Pakistan, invited me on a trip to Kasur where she planned to film a documentary about cultural epicentres. I took this as the perfect opportunity for a field trip and asked my students to accompany us.

As the October day became sunnier, we grew increasingly impatient to begin our journey. As we parked at the corner of a busy street, we contemplated what we wanted to do next. Try the region’s fish which is famous across the province, or attend the hourly sessions of kafis (poems) being sung by mureeds (disciples) at Bulleh Shah’s shrine?

The kafis won, and we made our way through the traffic to the tomb of Hazrat Baba Bulleh Shah, arguably the greatest Punjabi poet and mystic this region has birthed to date.

Our journey began with a stopover at Baba Kamal Chishty’s shrine, where, according to the local folklore, if you could run up the steep stairs on the small hill while holding your breath, whatever wish you made at the top would come true.

After several failed attempts, we wandered through the shrine that was beautifully decorated with white and green tilework. As we weaved our way under the shade of old trees adorned with colourful strips of visitor’s wishes, we could hear the qawwals in the distance singing verses of devotion.

After another stopover at the small, but neatly maintained Kasur museum, it was time to pay a long overdue visit to the master of the poetic craft.

Bulleh Shah lived in the era of the great Sindhi poets Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai and Sachal Sarmast. Mir Taqi Mir, too, lived only a few days journey to the east.

The subcontinent spanned over a thousand miles, and Bulleh Shah’s voice was one of many that rose from the small towns of the Orient. Those voices still echo, from air-conditioned rooms in concrete jungles to radio sets held together by scotch tape under banyan trees.

A murshid (spiritual teacher) himself, Bulleh Shah is said to have studied in the famous mohallas of Lahore, with Kasur being his final resting place. The hunt for his tomb involved a drive through bazaars, followed by a short walk while navigating the great Kasuri markets, the scent of fried fish and rubber tyres in the air.

The tomb is a short five-minute walk from the parking lot. The enclosure holds a praying area, a white and green edifice reflective of Islamic architecture, in the courtyard of the shrine where I saw jewellery sellers and Islamic prayer books.

A short walk away is the entrance where local men, who were selling kasuri methi, made sure that we took our shoes off out of respect before going into the shrine. They had large stacks of pre-packed kasuri methi set at the entryway in case visitors wanted to buy them.

Two graves herald your entrance into the tiled courtyard, said to be the final resting place of Bulleh Shah’s greatest mureeds.

Across the graves in the middle of the large courtyard, for the hopeful, a tree sits next to the immediate sanctuary of Bulleh Shah, where strings and colourful strips of cloth are lifted by the afternoon breeze.

As we walked towards the domed structure, we couldn’t help but feel an otherworldly sense of peace. Peeking through the latticed stone, a hint of green and red stares back. It is the double coverlets on Bulleh Shah’s grave, green signifying his ceaseless attachment to Islam, and red a sign of undying strength.

Roses adorn the headstone, and on every side of the great murshid stand people with their hands raised in prayer, silently murmuring hesitant words on their lips. For a minute, it was easy to imagine Bulleh Shah, surrounded by equally devoted listeners, writing the kafis that are still sung.

There is visible life in the enclosure and an inherent sense of peace – not even the scorching sunlight could dull the energy which surrounded his resting place.

Eventually, we settled quietly in the courtyard, eager to hear the kafis of Bulleh Shah being sung by the famous group of qawwals at the shrine. As the men sat up and a crowd began to gather, we watched them transform into passionate devotees.

The men slowly built up a crescendo, the aged and the young alike, and their voices rose with the harmonium. It was only when Tere Ishq Nachaya broke my stupor, I realised how time had flown.

I felt my limbs move, reverently placing a small baqshish, my show of gratitude, where others had placed theirs already. We sat there for a long while, listening to their perfectly stylised rendition of Bulleh Shah’s kalams. It was as though we were in a reverie as the voices of the qawwals drifted across the courtyard.

Bulleh Shah was believed to possess healing powers, and people travelled far and wide to come to him for their ailments. Fighting against the prevalent issues of caste, creed, and familial honour in 18th century Punjab, he devoted his life to art, despite initial misgivings from close family members.

More of a nomadic observer than a fighter, he still managed to shake the status quo, spinning out poetic verses to rival several of his famous contemporaries.

As one of his famous verses says:

Oh Bulleh Shah, let’s go there
Where everyone is blind
Where no one recognises our caste
And where no one believes in us.

As we silently walked out of the courtyard, I couldn’t help but think of Bulleh Shah’s undying message and compassion that is still revered today.

To see the wonderful pictures that go with the article click on the link below:


If you are interested in this subject I would advice you to read :

Of Sacred and Secular Desire: An Anthology of Lyrical Writings from the Punjab

by Nikky-Guninder Kaur Singh

Paperback, 288 pages
Published March 15th 2012 by I. B. Tauris
(first published January 1st 2012)

The Times of India – Pakistan’s plea for rehearing of Kulbhushan Jadhav case may cut no ice with ICJ

Sachin Parashar

New Delhi, 22 May 2017. While Pakistan is said to have sought a rehearing by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) of the Kulbhushan Jadhav case, it is unlikely that this will in any way lead to an annulment, or even dilution, of the interim relief already granted to India.

Acknowledging that Pakistan had violated the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (VCCR), the ICJ had stayed the execution of Jadhav until the time it delivered its final judgement in the case.

If Pakistan challenges the jurisdiction of the Court, the ICJ may want to address its petition through separate hearings before looking further into the case made by India.

This, however, in no way will affect the provisional measures already granted, including the stay on Jadhav’s execution.

According to experts though, Pakistan could invoke Article 76 of the Rules of ICJ which says that at the request of a party the Court may, at any time before the final judgment in the case, revoke or modify any decision “concerning provisional measures if, in its opinion, some change in the situation justifies such revocation or modification”.

The same rule also says though that any application proposing such a revocation or modification shall specify the relevant change in the situation and that before taking any decision, the Court shall provide both parties opportunities to present their observations.

“For the Court to revoke or modify its provisional measures, it must be satisfied that the situation that warranted the indication of provisional measures has changed and the provisional measures are no longer necessary in light of new facts or developments identified by Pakistan,” said Geneva based international lawyer Shashank Kumar, a former law clerk at ICJ.

For example, he said, Pakistan could offer a unilateral assurance to the Court, which it did not at the initial hearing, that it will not execute Jadhav until the Court issues its final judgment.

“It would be for the Court do decide whether, considering the exact scope of Pakistan’s promise, provisional measures may no longer necessary,” added Kumar. Apart from that unilateral assurance which Pakistan could contemplate giving, there really hasn’t been any development, or disclosure of any new fact, which Islamabad could use to claim a change in situation.


The Hindu – Man in Pakistan custody came under the Anti-Terrorism Squad scanner in 2003

He went missing in 2006 and later that year crossed the border, say police

Rupanwita Bhattacharjee

Mumbai, 22 May 2017. Nabi Ahmed Sheikh, the Mumbai native who has been arrested in Pakistan for allegedly staying in the country with invalid documents, was under the scanner of the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad in 2003 and crossed the Jammu border to enter Pakistan three years later, senior officers confirmed to The Hindu on Monday.

Sheikh, a native of Jogeshwari in Mumbai, was arrested in Islamabad on May 19 after a routine screening at a checkpost revealed that he did not have a valid visa and other documents to enter Pakistan.

A highly placed source said, “Sheikh was last seen in Mumbai in early 2006 and later crossed the Jammu border to go to Pakistan. We have had multiple confirmations of this fact.”

To Dubai, for a job

Sources said Sheikh left his residence telling his family that he was going to Dubai for a job opportunity. His brother was accompanying him to the Mumbai airport the day he left but Sheikh made him to get off the cab on the way and was never heard from since then. Shortly thereafter, investigating agencies learned that he had entered Pakistan through the Jammu border.

ATS officers said he first came under the scanner of multiple investigative agencies in 2002-2003, when the December 2002 Ghatkopar blasts were being investigated.

“A group of young men from Jogeshwari (east) were picked up for inquiries at the time in connection with the blasts in Mumbai for their affiliations to the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), which was ultimately found to be behind the blasts.

The interrogation of these men had revealed Sheikh as a suspect and he had been under the scanner since then,” an ATS officer said.

Residents of Sheikh’s locality in Jogeshwari, too, said they had not seen him for years together. Iqbal Ahmed Sheikh, who grew up with Sheikh, or ‘Taj’ as he was called in the area, said, “He was very obedient as a child but he suddenly changed in his late teens.

I started hearing he was involved in illegal activities and his family was shunned by everyone. Nobody wanted to marry his sister, who is well educated and a professor. His father left them years earlier and his mother and siblings, too, moved out later.”

Mehroon Sheikh, another neighbour, said, “Taj used to help his father in his embroidery business. We used to have good relations with his family till they left the area.”

Meanwhile, the Indian High Commission in Islamabad has spoken to Pakistan’s Foreign Office twice since the arrest of Sheikh Nabi came to light. The Sources told The Hindu that the High Commission contacted the foreign office on Sunday and Monday to share details of the person arrested and requested consular access to him so they can ascertain his identity.

Pakistan police had arrested a man they said was Indian national Sheikh Nabi over incomplete travel documents. Nabi was arrested from the F-8 sector in Pakistan’s capital Islamabad and booked under the Foreigner’s Act 1946 and then sent to 14-days of judicial custody.Meanwhile Ministry of External Affairs has refused to comment.

With inputs from Mubashar Zaidi


The News – Anti-state content: Government launches crack-down on social media activists

Islamabad, 21 May 2017. The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) said on Sunday that 41 suspects were being investigated for uploading anti-state content on social media.

A senior official said that some two dozen suspects were in FIA custody.

He said out of the two dozen suspects eight belonged to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz.

Meanwhile, PTI leader Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Sunday visited his party activists being detained at the FIA headquarters, Geo News reported.

Speaking to media, Qureshi said his party stands by the workers and added that they had not been nominated in any specific case.


The Hindustan Times – Caught between Pakistan’s claim on Kashmir and China’s OBOR, India must stand on its own

India should prepare for a two-front military deterrent capability, and reach out to Japan and South Korea to strengthen its position in Asia

Shishir Gupta

Op/Ed, 20 May 2017. When Pakistan National Security Advisor Nasir Janjua met his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval in Bangkok on December 6, 2015, he was told that no less than 79 Pakistani nationals were languishing in Indian jails on terrorism related charges.

Doval told Janjua that there were documented records, including valid passports, to prove they were Pakistanis.

While Janjua tried to fob off the charges as irrelevant to the discussion, one of the delegates in the meeting asked him to show one Indian incarcerated in Pakistani jail on terrorism-related charges.

At that time, General (Retired) Janjua had no answers.

Three months later, former Indian Navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav was picked up ostensibly from Balochistan on charges of abetting terrorism and spying. He was sentenced to death by a Pakistan military court on April 10, 2017, suggesting the Rawalpindi GHQ will go to any lengths to spite India.

The sentence now stands stayed by International Court of Justice (ICJ), thanks to deft moves by the Modi government.

On April 26, 2017, the Pakistan military released confession of arrested Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) spokesperson Ehsanullah Ehsan saying that his organisation was being funded by “Kafir” RAW, the Indian external intelligence agency, for carrying out terror operations in Pakistan.

While India may mock at the ham-handedness of Pakistan Army in extracting so-called confessions from both Jadhav and Ehsan, within a span of 15 months of the Janjua meeting, New Delhi had been placed at parity with Islamabad for sponsoring terrorism in the neighbouring country.

India may cry foul over coercion of Jadhav till kingdom comes, but it is our word against Pakistani army’s for the rest of the world.

Simultaneously, with the Jadhav card, the Pakistan army scuttled Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s December 25, 2015 peace initiative by orchestrating the Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist strike at Pathankot airbase on January 2, 2016, and followed it by pushing in as many infiltrators as possible into the Kashmir Valley.

Capitalising on the public anger over the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani last July 8 in a police encounter, the deep state of Pakistan achieved a remarkable objective of orchestrating a hate-Kashmiri campaign in hinterland India, where even the India supporters in the Valley were tarnished by the same brush and subjected to ridicule.

Forgotten were the 88,951 Kashmiri voters who had the remarkable courage to vote in the April 9, 2017 Srinagar Lok Sabha election amidst all mayhem and affirmed their faith in Indian democratic process.

As if this was not enough, Pakistan has now virtually become a client state of China by joining the one belt, one road (OBOR) initiative amidst much fanfare this month. The $62 billion economic corridor goes through northern areas and occupied-Kashmir to Gwadar in Balochistan.

Three years after he assumed office, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today faces a daunting challenge to national security from Pakistan through terrorism and internal subversion, and from China, which is choking New Delhi through encirclement diplomacy or OBOR in South Asia.

To be fair to PM Modi, he made huge efforts to reach out to both President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, but both moves were shot down by powerful army leaderships in those countries.

Be it the Peoples Liberation Army or Pakistan Army, any peace initiative from perceived adversary India will be scuttled by military stand-offs like the 2014 Chumar or the 2016 Uri attacks.

The security challenge to Modi government is getting severe as its newfound ally US is being ruled by a temperamental President, who is now being investigated on charges of blocking an FBI inquiry into his former NSA leaking secrets to India’s old ally Russia.

Despite Indian overtures at the highest level, its tried and tested ally Russia is now playing the piano to Chinese tunes.

The situation may appear tight for India but those who recommended to New Delhi to participate in OBOR initiative to appease China must not forget the February 22, 1994 Parliament resolution of getting Occupied Kashmir vacated from Pakistan. Signing on OBOR with CPEC running through PoK would have been political suicide for Modi government.

While India must now prepare for a two-front military deterrent capability, given the umbilical relationship of Pakistan and China, the new challenges also gives New Delhi an opportunity to come out on its own.

The global high table has no free lunches and to believe that Indian rise would be largely benign and uncontested is a fallacy.

India should push for stronger engagement with China and even Pakistan, but such a move should be dictated by long term national interest, not weakness.

Time has come for PM Modi to engage the politicians in Kashmir linked with Indian democratic processes to find lasting peace in Valley as well as empower those whose aspirations lie with India like Lt Ummer Fayaz.

On a global front, India needs to look beyond its immediate neighbours and diplomatically engage countries like Japan, Korea and economic power houses of West Asia. If the Modi government can bring peace and connectivity to North-East, then the southern silk road, linking South East Asia to Moreh in Manipur, could be an answer to China OBOR.

Pakistani politicians and journalists often suffer from severe anti-Indian bias
Indian politicians and journalists often suffer from severe anti-Pakistan bias
Man in Blue


The Times of India – SGPC says MEA declined permission to send jatha to Pakistan

Yudhvir Rana

Amritsar, 20 May 2017. A day after the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled that Pakistan should stay the execution of former Indian Navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav, Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) claimed that the Union external affairs ministry did not give it permission to send a jatha (group of pilgrims) to Pakistan to observe the death anniversary of fifth Sikh master Guru Arjan Dev.

Quoting their representative Mohinder Singh’s report, prepared after visiting the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi, SGPC chief secretary Harcharan Singh said on Friday that the visas were not issued to the Sikh jatha in the absence of a nod from the external affairs ministry.

He said it was unfortunate since the religious sentiments of Sikhs were attached to the historical gurdwaras of Pakistan, where they always aspired to pay obeisance.

On the other hand, other smaller Sikh groups claimed that visas were denied to SGPC since it was not sending jathas according to the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC) programme.

Bhai Mardana Yadgar Kirtan Darbar Society president Harpal Singh Bhullar said SGPC’s jatha programme was from May 21 to 29, whereas PSGPC’s programme was from June 8 to 17.

“According to the amended version of Nanakshahi calendar (NC), SGPC will observe the day on May 28, whereas according to the calendar adopted in 2003, PSGPC will observe the day on June 16,” he said, adding that he was sending a jatha on June 8.

Shiromani Akali Dal (Delhi) president Paramjit Singh Sarna did not find any weightage in the SGPC’s argument that the external affairs ministry did not give its approval. “It is unlikely that the ministry will not give its approval.

We are also sending the jatha according to PSGPC’s programme,” he said. Meanwhile, a senior intelligence officer told TOI that since relations between the two nations were not normal, there was a possibility of the government discouraging Indian nationals to visit Pakistan.


Dawn – ‘Pakistan didn’t fail’: 5 things you should know about ICJ’s decision on Jadhav

Taimur Malik

Karachi, 19 May 2017. The International Court of Justice (ICJ) announced its decision in relation to India’s Request for the Indication of Provisional Measures in connection with Kulbhushan Jadhav’s case (the “decision”) on May 18, 2017.

The 15 page decision has been met with strong reactions in both countries. Unfortunately, the debate on electronic media has been led by journalists, lawyers and politicians unfamiliar with the concepts of international law and the actual decision itself.

Therefore, it is important to highlight some key points:

India didn’t win, Pakistan didn’t fail

India didn’t win the case. Pakistan didn’t fail. The decision only relates to India’s request for provisional measures (which, by the way, doesn’t even include a request for granting consular access to Jadhav).

At this stage, it was easier and more likely for the ICJ to favour the Indian request as the threshold for assuming jurisdiction was not very high. Please see below paragraph 15 of the decision:

“15. The Court may indicate provisional measures only if the provisions relied on by the Applicant appear, prima facie, to afford a basis on which its jurisdiction could be founded, but need not satisfy itself in a definitive manner that it has jurisdiction as regards the merits of the case (see, for example, Application of the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism and of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (Ukraine v. Russian Federation), Provisional Measures, Order of 19 April 2017, para. 17).”

Jadhav’s spy status will come under discussion

Pakistan hasn’t failed to convince the ICJ that Jadhav is a spy/terrorist as this is something that will be considered only at the merits stage of the case.

At this stage, ICJ wasn’t even looking to confirm whether the rights sought to be protected by India exist (i.e. consular access to an Indian citizen convicted of activities subversive to the national security of Pakistan).

In fact, it only had to decide whether such rights are plausible enough to be adjudicated upon at the merits stage of the case. Please see below paragraph 42 of the decision:

“42. At this stage of the proceedings, the Court is not called upon to determine definitively whether the rights which India wishes to see protected exist; it need only decide whether these rights are plausible (see above paragraph 35 and Application of the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism and of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (Ukraine v. Russian Federation), Provisional Measures, Order of 19 April 2017, para. 64).”

ICJ yet to decide on consular access for Jadhav

ICJ has not determined as yet whether consular access must be granted to someone in Jadhav’s position. Pakistan has not even had the opportunity to plead the arguments in this respect and again this is something to be debated at the merits stage of the case. Please see below paragraph 43 of the decision:

“43. The rights to consular notification and access between a State and its nationals, as well as the obligations of the detaining State to inform without delay the person concerned of his rights with regard to consular assistance and to allow their exercise, are recognized in Article 36, paragraph 1, of the Vienna Convention.

Regarding Pakistan’s arguments that, first, Article 36 of the Vienna Convention does not apply to persons suspected of espionage or terrorism, and that, second, the rules applicable to the case at hand are provided in the 2008 Agreement, the Court considers that at this stage of the proceedings, where no legal analysis on these questions has been advanced by the Parties, these arguments do not provide a sufficient basis to exclude the plausibility of the rights claimed by India, for the same reasons provided above (see paragraphs 32-33).”

No decision on the death penalty

There has been no decision by the ICJ regarding Jadhav’s death penalty by the Pakistani Court. In fact, this point is not even under consideration and does not fall within the ICJ’s jurisdiction.

The dispute relates to whether consular access should have been granted by Pakistan and not whether the death penalty is lawful. Please see below paragraph 56 of the decision:

“56. The Court notes that the issues brought before it in this case do not concern the question whether a State is entitled to resort to the death penalty. As it has observed in the past, “the function of this Court is to resolve international legal disputes between States, inter alia when they arise out of the interpretation or application of international conventions, and not to act as a court of criminal appeal” (LaGrand (Germany v. United States of America), Provisional Measures, Order of 3 March 1999, I.C.J. Reports 1999 (I), p. 15, para. 25; Avena and Other Mexican Nationals (Mexico v. United States of America), Provisional Measures, Order of 5 February 2003, I.C.J. Reports 2003, p. 89, para. 48).”

Pakistan can still argue on jurisdiction

The decision in no way affects the rights of Pakistan to submit arguments in respect of the jurisdiction of the ICJ to deal with this case and in relation to the merits of the case itself.

Pakistan will be given ample opportunity to present its arguments in the next round. Please see below paragraph 60 of the decision:

“60. The decision given in the present proceedings in no way prejudges the question of the jurisdiction of the Court to deal with the merits of the case or any questions relating to the admissibility of the Application or to the merits themselves. It leaves unaffected the right of the Governments of India and Pakistan to submit arguments in respect of those questions.”

The legal team representing Pakistan in this case has also come under scrutiny in the media and an impression has been given that the lead counsel did not have relevant experience.

This is misleading. Khawar Qureshi QC is a leading member of the Bar of England and Wales who, 24 years ago, in 1993, was the youngest advocate to appear before the ICJ (representing Bosnia) and has taught Public International Law at King’s College London.

The junior counsel, Asad Rahim Khan, is an accomplished young lawyer currently working with the Attorney General’s Office who was called to the Bar of England and Wales, writes regularly for a prominent English newspaper and co-hosts a talk show on DawnNews.

They, and others supporting them, did not have the benefit of time available to the Indian team while preparing their arguments and performed well under a tight deadline.

One can expect to see a much stronger Pakistani legal team at the merits stage of the case.

It is also important to consider that the reasoning put forward by the ICJ potentially opens the doors for Pakistan to bring cases against India resulting from breaches of other international treaties.

Finally, it should be noted that Pakistan now has a right to appoint an Ad Hoc Judge of the ICJ for this specific case.

Media pundits have shown concern regarding the presence of an Indian Judge at the ICJ and the appointment of an Ad Hoc Judge by Pakistan should put to rest any concerns of the ICJ being influenced by one of its members.

However, Pakistan will have to select its nominee wisely. Possible options could include a retired Chief Justice of Pakistan (e.g. Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani), Pakistan’s leading international law expert, Ahmer Bilal Soofi (who is also an elected member of the UN Human Rights Council Advisory Committee), or an international candidate such as Judge Bruno Simma (former Judge of the ICJ) who was appointed as an arbitrator by Pakistan in the Indus Water Kishenganga Arbitration.

Indeed, each potential nominee will have his areas of expertise and strength and the decision makers will need to consider carefully the skills that Pakistan would most value in its nominee for the position of the Ad Hoc Judge of the ICJ.

The case has just started and the best legal minds on both sides will be working hard to strengthen their country’s arguments in the next round. Neither side can claim a victory at this early stage.

The ICJ is the world’s most prestigious dispute resolution forum and we can expect important jurisprudence to result from the final outcome of this case.

The author is an international lawyer and former Executive Director of the Research Society of International Law (RSIL) Pakistan


The Hindu – Big win for India and human rights: Attorney-General

Special Correspondent

New Delhi, 18 May 2017. Attorney-General of India Mukul Rohatgi on Thursday described the International Court of Justice’s stay on execution of retired naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav as a “big win for India and human rights”.

Mr Rohatgi, speaking to the media, said Mr Jadhav does not risk death penalty as the World Court would hear the case decisively on merits and reach a final decision.

No consular access

The government’s topmost law officer said the International Court of Justice assumed jurisdiction after being prima facie satisfied that India’s case about the lack of proper notification of Mr Jadhav’s arrest and denial of consular access to the detainee proved that the case came under Article 36 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.

The ICJ unanimously and clearly overcame the obstacle of the 2008 bilateral agreement raised by Pakistan to challenge India’s case in the ICJ and the World Court’s jurisdiction by invoking Article 36 of the Convention and how a human life was put at stake by denial of consular access.

One of the judges on the Bench, Judge Caccado Trindade called the order as a move towards the “humanisation of international law”.

Lives at risk

In his concurring opinion, Judge Trindade points to how though only states approach the World Court, these states move the ICJ because individual rights and probably lives are at stake.

The Attorney-General said the whole world knew there was no proper trial before the military court pronounced the death sentence for Mr Jadhav.

The order comes as a big relief not only for Mr Jadhav’s family but also the whole nation.

Mr Rohatgi said the order was binding on both India and Pakistan.


The Times of India – Young Pakistani Sikh to host cricket match for expatriates

Yudhvir Rana

Bahrain, 18 May 2017. A young Pakistani Sikh consultant is organising a cricket match in Bahrain involving cricketers of India and Pakistan to entertain thousands of expatriates of both the countries in the Gulf nation.

“Bahrain cricket festival will be held on May 19 between the teams of Misbah Falcons and Irfan Eagles at the Bahrain National Stadium,” Taranjeet Singh, the host of the event for Bahrain TV, told TOI on Wednesday. Pop band Stereo Nation and Pakistani actress Neelam Muneer, will perform.

Taranjeet informed that the event organized by Bahrain Cricket Academy, in association with the ministry of youth and sports affairs, will feature top players like Misbah-ul-Haq, Irfan Pathan, Rana Naveed, Micheal Lumb and Shahid Afridi.

“This will not be just one match but an ongoing process,” he said. Taranjeet is of the view that resumption of official matches depend on the relations between the two countries.

“But Indians and Pakistanis living in Bahrain share common interests. They have common business interests and even socialize together. Besides they have the same idols want to see them in action,” he said.

Cricket is one of the oldest sport played in Bahrain with roots dating back to 1935. “We plan to host matches involving recently-retired players from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and entertain the Indian and Pakistani cricket lovers in a healthy environment in Bahrain,” he said.