Brussel Zuid MIVB Premetro – Brussel Zuid NMBS – Gent Veergrep

Brussel Zuid/Bruxelles Midi
MIVB Premetro/Metro
03 August 2019

Premetro (underground tram) platform

Metro train

Brussel Zuid Metro/Premetro station

Brussel Zuid/Bruxelles Midi
03 August 2019

Benelux Intercity NS/NMBS
Brussel Zuid – Amsterdam CS vv

16:26 to Oostende via Brugge and Gent

Gent Veergrep
04 August 2019

The new Veergrep tram stop
Kortrijksepoortstraat – Tram 1 to Evergem

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

The Hindu – Takeaways from the Kulbhushan Jadhav case ruling

India’s more successful legal journey to the ICJ must now reshape New Delhi’s approach to potentially difficult situations

Arjun Subramaniam

New Delhi – India, 18 July 2019. Kulbhushan Jadhav, the former Indian Navy officer, who was allegedly abducted by Pakistani intelligence from Iran and sentenced to death on charges of espionage and terrorism by a farcical military court in Pakistan, has been given a glimmer of hope by the ruling of the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

Responding to a petition by India that sought an annulment of his death sentence because Pakistan had violated numerous international treaties and extracted irregular confessions under coercion, the ICJ, on July 17, 2019, ruled with a decisive vote (15-1) that Mr. Jadhav cannot be executed by Pakistan, and that he must be given adequate consular access and a fair trial.

The ruling also urged Pakistan to review his conviction. This constitutes a major diplomatic and legal victory for India, with Pakistan accusing India of ‘ambushing’ it at The Hague.

Focussed strategy

Given its rather lukewarm record in the past of securing the release of Indian detainees in Pakistan through bilateral negotiations, India’s strategy in this case has been to exploit increasing international acceptance that Pakistan was an emerging ‘rogue’ state.

Laying stress on Pakistan’s scant regard for Article 36 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, it deals with the arrest, detention and trial of a foreign citizen, India’s counsel, Harish Salve, highlighted two compelling arguments. First was the arrest process, which was not accompanied by an immediate notification to Indian consular officials in Islamabad.

There was a delay of over three weeks before India was informed, and it was during this period, according to reliable sources from within Pakistan, that Mr Jadhav was subjected to all means of coercion and forced to sign a ‘confession taken under custody’ without adequate legal representation.

Second was the two-way denial of access and communication by any means between Mr. Jadhav and consular officials and a failure to inform him of the rights he enjoyed under the convention.

The legitimacy of military courts has always been controversial within the international legal system that emerged in the post-World War II era as a fast-track system of delivering skewed justice by authoritarian regimes and military dictatorships.

Purportedly set up in Pakistan in 2015 as a counter-terrorist and anti-corruption initiative, Mr Jadhav’s sentencing in April 2017 was based on confessions taken in captivity and is part of several arbitrary sentences by Pakistan’s Military Court.

Violation of rights

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) recognises the right to an effective defence against criminal charges, and to a fair and impartial trial, in which the accused is represented by a lawyer of his choice.

By denying consular access, Pakistan has stood in gross violation of both the Vienna Convention and the ICCPR. Had due process been followed, and then had Mr. Jadhav been charged with espionage, India may not have had the necessary room to take the matter to the ICJ.

By attempting to circumvent the ‘due diligence’ process, Pakistan has exposed serious chinks in its legal environment and jeopardised its standing in the comity of nations. The Jadhav case has also revealed Pakistan’s desperation in its search for ‘proxies’ as drivers of the internal unrest in Balochistan.

Reliable sources within India’s intelligence agencies hint at the possibility of Mr Jadhav having been abducted by armed groups operating on the border between Iran and Balochistan.

Pakistan is known to have used proxy Sunni groups such as the Jaish al-Adl against Iran, and Iranian officials have often spoken to their Indian counterparts about Pakistan’s sponsorship of terrorist activities along the Iran-Pakistan border.

A testimony to the growing menace of this group is its recent designation as a front of Jundullah, which is a ‘Specially Designated Global Terrorist’.

India has shown both intent and resilience in attempting to secure the release of Mr. Jadhav despite the many hiccups along the way. Following a synergised approach steered by the National Security Adviser and the External Affairs Minister, India fought the kidnapping of Mr. Jadhav, an Indian national who was legitimately residing in Iran after retirement from the Indian Navy.

Realising, in 2017, following his death sentence that the overall deteriorating relations between India and Pakistan had closed the door on any bilateral way of securing his release, India rightly chose to go the ‘international way’ by fielding a formidable legal team led by the jurist, Harish Salve.

Sparing no efforts on the human aspects of the case too, India managed to get Mr Jadhav to meet his mother and wife after the death sentence was pronounced. The first success achieved by the Indian legal team was on May 9, 2017 when the ICJ sent an urgent message to the Prime Minister of Pakistan, urging him to stay the execution till India’s case was heard fully and the ICJ arrived at a verdict.

Moving slowly but surely through the legal battle for over two years, India, has been demonstrating significant synergy between various stakeholders in the case.

The final verdict will, hopefully, galvanise the Indian establishment to step on the pedal and exert pressure on Pakistan to rescind the death sentence and allow Mr Jadhav consular access and legitimate legal platform to mount his defence.

While it would be wishful thinking to assume that Mr Jadhav would return to India soon, there is a glimmer of hope on the horizon that the Indian strategic establishment would do well to exploit.

Having deftly navigated the legal and diplomatic channels and restrained the Pakistan military by securing manoeuvring space following the ICJ verdict, a leading power such as India must demonstrate its intent and capacity to extract desirable outcomes out of potentially difficult, or seemingly impossible situations. Kulbhushan Jadhav’s case is one such challenge.

Arjun Subramaniam is a strategic commentator and Visiting Professor at Ashoka University

This is an Indian reaction to the ruling of the International Court of Justice
I will look today for an article that reflects the Pakistani view
Man in Blue

Sluis Nederland – Brugge België – Brugge NMBS – Gent Zuid

Sluis Nederland – Brugge België
25 June 2019

Timetable of bus 42 from Sluis to Brugge
Operated by Connexxion and De Lijn

Platform 9 – Brugge De Lijn Bus station

De Lijn bus 42 just arrived from Breskens via Sluis

Brugge NMBS
25 June 2019

Brugge NMBS – waiting for a train to take me to Gent

Brugge NMBS – EMU

Belgian Cycling Championship
30 June 2019

No buses or trams moving as the cyclists are due to arrive
Cycling is very popular in Flanders

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

Gentbrugge De Naeyerdreef – Ledeberg Standaertsite – Sluis Nederland

Gentbrugge De Naeyerdreef
24 June 2019

Why can’t we even walk here anymore ?

Ledeberg Standaertsite
24 June 2019

There used to be a DIY store here, now it is a community centre

Sluis Nederland
25 June 2019

The Belfort of Sluis

With bus 42 you can get from Brugge to Sluis using De Lijn tickets

Sluis – Damse Vaart

Sluis – Sint-Annastraat

More Netherlands and Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

Money Control – Jet Airways shutdown: Booked a Jet Airways flight? Here’s what you can do

Jet Airways will offer a refund for all passengers affected by the suspension of flight operations

New Delhi – India, 18 April 2019. Cash-strapped airline Jet Airways flew its last flight on the Amritsar-Delhi-Mumbai route on 17 April and announced a temporary shutdown as lenders refused to provide it with the much-needed emergency funding.

As of Thursday, 18 April, all domestic and international flights of Jet Airways stand cancelled. This has led to confusion and panic among the customers who had booked flights with the carrier. The airline has said that it will inform all guests about the suspension of flight operations through text messages or emails to the respective contact details in the bookings.

If you have a booking with Jet Airways for a later date than April 18, you will receive a text, email or phone call from Jet Airways authorities. The airline will offer a refund for all passengers affected by the suspension of flight operations.

Passengers have to call the airline or visit its office in case their flights have been cancelled within 72 hours of departure. A list of all Jet Airways offices across the country is on their website.

If the flight has been cancelled beyond 72 hours, passengers have to fill the form on the Disruption Assistance page of the website, if booked directly with Jet.

In case a passenger has booked the flight through an agent, they will have to contact the agent directly. If a ticket has been booked through travel portals like MakeMyTrip, ClearTrip, Yatra, etc, they will have to cancel their tickets on those websites of apps and seek a refund for their tickets.

The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) has said that the DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) and other regulators are monitoring the situation carefully to ensure that all existing rules regarding refunds, cancellations, and alternate bookings are followed strictly.

“Any passenger complaints or issues should be promptly reported to the AirSewa portal or on its mobile app. We will follow up immediately.

Our overriding priority remains the safety, convenience, and affordability of our Aviation system. We are assisting airlines and airports to bring in capacity rapidly to ensure that fares remain stable and competitive,” it said on Twitter.

A meeting between the secretary of MoCA with airports is underway and airlines will coordinate and address any emerging issues on capacity, slots and passenger convenience.

Jet Airways has for years been the main carrier from Brussel and later from Amsterdam to New Delhi for the Benelux Sikhs.
Man in Blue

Hoepertingen: Sint Vedastus Kerk – Mariagaarde – World War I Monument

Sint Vedastus Kerk
26 March 2019

RC Sint-Vedastus Church

26 March 2019

Entry Gate

Court yard

Court yard

World War I Monument
26 March 2019

Tribute to the heroes

Curious to see that one hero died in Amersfoort in the Netherlands where there was no fighting at all

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

Gent-Sint-Pieters – Tongeren NMBS/De Lijn

25 March 2019

Gent-Sint-Pieters – IC to Tongeren
IC slow to Brussel, fast to Hasselt and slow to Tongeren

IC to Tongeren
Refurbished old rolling stock

Tongeren NMBS/De Lijn
25 March 2019

Tongeren NMBS

NMBS symbol – De Lijn bus station

Two buses at the bus station – Both going to ‘Not in Service’

Bus 39b to Voeren, formerly a Dutch speaking part of Luik/Liège Province, now part of Limburg and therefore served by De Lijn
There are also regular De Lijn bus services to Maastricht (NL) and Liège from here

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

The Statesman – Several injured as man opens fire in Dutch city of Utrecht

The police said that it is not ruling out the possibility of a terrorist attack on the tram.

Utrecht – Province of Utrecht – The Netherlands, 18 March 2019. A shooting incident in a tram in the Dutch city of Utrecht has left several people injured.

According to reports, a man, who is yet to be identified, opened fire in the tram near a square in the main city in the morning. Utrecht is 37 kilometres to the south of Amsterdam.

The police said that it is not ruling out the possibility of a terrorist attack on the tram.

The shooting took place at about 10:45 local time (03:15 IST).

In a tweet, Utrecht police said that the incident happened in 24 Oktoberplein (24 October Square) area of the city, which has been cordoned off.

“A shooting occurred on the #24oktoberplein in #Utrecht. The incident has been reported at 10.45 hour. Multiple people have been injured. The surrounding area has been cordoned off and we are investigating the matter,” the tweet read.

Dawn – Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav sought to create anarchy in Pakistan at Delhi’s behest, ICJ told

The Hague – Zuid Holland – The Netherlands, 19 February 2019. Pakistan on Tuesday accused India of using the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for “political theatre” as it urged judges to dismiss India’s case seeking to save spy Kulbhushan Jadhav from execution.

The top United Nations court’s four-day public hearing in the case of the 48-year-old Indian national began on Monday, with India presenting its case first. Pakistan presented its arguments in the case today. The four-day trial will end with Pakistan’s closing arguments on Thursday.

The case centres on the fate of Jadhav, who was convicted of espionage by a Pakistani military court and sentenced to death in April 2017. India denies Jadhav is a spy and has asked the ICJ to order his release because he was denied access to consular help and not allowed to choose his own defence lawyer.

Attorney General of Pakistan Anwar Mansoor Khan on Tuesday argued that Jadhav was an Indian spy sent to Balochistan to destabilise the country. He said that “India’s claim for relief […] must be dismissed.”

Khan told the court that Jadhav ran a network “to carry out despicable terrorism and suicide bombing, targeted killing, kidnapping for ransom and targeted operations to create unrest and instability in the country”.

“His unlawful activities were directed at creating anarchy in Pakistan and particularly targeted the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor,” Khan told the 15-judge bench.

But Jadhav did not act on his own, Khan added. “Rather they were committed at the behest of the Indian state and the government.”

A confession by Jadhav obtained by Pakistani officials “speaks of India’s state policy of sponsoring terrorism in Pakistan,” he said.

Since partition, “India has persistently pursued the policy of trying to destroy Pakistan,” Khan said.

Another Pakistani lawyer Khawar Qureshi told the court: “India’s proceedings […] are purely for political theatre… and they should be dismissed.”

He termed India’s arguments, presented a day earlier, as an opportunity wasted, saying India failed to answer fundamental questions regarding subversive activities of its serving navy commander inside Pakistan.

Qureshi questioned India’s demand of provisional measures without conduct of any hearing since it invoked ICJ’s jurisdiction on 08 May 2016 and termed the Indian claim for acquittal, release and return of Jadhav as “outlandish”.

Calling India’s proposition as “absurd and nonsensical”, he said India was showing a lack of good faith and sponsoring terrorism in Pakistan through Jadhav.

Qureshi also referred to a few cases of Russia and China where states were free to modify their own practice in dealing with espionage as special case.

He said India and Pakistan entered into a clearly worded agreement on consular access (operative since 1982 and amended in 2008) which identified the basis to consider the option of consular access in cases of espionage.

He emphasized that India’s conduct in sending Commander Jadhav to engage in acts of espionage violated the Article 5(a) of Vienna Convention and said permitting consular access would be in blatant violation of the fundamental precepts of international law.

He requested the court to declare India’s petition inadmissible by reason of its conduct manifesting abuse of rights, illegality and misrepresentation.

Furthermore, Qureshi said that even if the court were to hold that Vienna Convention’s Article 36 was engaged and a right to consular access was denied, the appropriate remedy would be filing a review before Pakistan’s High Court, any time by Jadhav and his family.

India’s arguments in yesterday’s hearing

A 15-member panel of ICJ judges heard India’s Counsel Advocate Harish Salve at the Peace Palace (Vredespaleis), the seat of the Court, from 2 pm to 5 pm PST.

Salve began his case yesterday by identifying it as an “unfortunate” matter relating to the life of an “innocent Indian national”. He based his arguments on two broad issues in what he essentially saw as a “simple” case, breach of Vienna Convention on consular access (VCCR) and the process of resolution.

India’s lawyer was quick to label Pakistan strong on rhetoric and blurry on facts, and failing in its propaganda to malign his country. Pakistan was bound to grant consular access at the earliest, but in fact refused to reply to 14 requests made by the Indian government at different times, he said.

Salve said a First Information Report (FIR) was registered against Jadhav as late as April 8 and his confession obtained before the FIR was used as a propaganda machine by Pakistan.

India’s counsel quoted Pakistan’s then adviser on foreign affairs, Sartaj Aziz, several times including his statement regarding the transparency of the trial.

The fact that Jadhav was given a state officer for defence, allowed to question witnesses and all political parties of Pakistan being unanimous in granting the death penalty to a spy, according to Salve, highlighted the political odds against a fair trial.

Former Solicitor General Harish Salve was not only quick to reject all of Pakistan’s claims regarding Jadhav’s role in fomenting terrorism and engaging in espionage within Pakistan, but also to ask the ICJ not to allow Pakistan to indulge in the “passport issue”, as that stood “irrelevant and alien” to today’s proceedings.

Terming Article 36 a vital cog in the wheel of justice, Salve continued to make a case based on human rights, protection of aliens on foreign land and pleaded the court to uphold VCCR, as a powerful tool that ensures the facility of consular access to foreign nationals that have been put to trial in a foreign country.

Pakistan’s frequent reminder of the express agreement signed by the two countries on Consular Access dated, 21 May, 2008 was also rubbished by Salve. The agreement that allows each state to consider a request for consular access “on its merits” in a case involving national security, does not make any reference to the VCCR.

Salve argued that VCCR could be clarified or supplemented by bilateral treaties but by no means diluted, modified or undermined. Neither can any article of a bilateral agreement destroy Article 36 of VCCR, nor does Article 36 commit to any exceptions, charges of espionage included.

“If Article 36 grants rights of consular access in all cases including where allegations of such kind are levelled, then demanding those can’t be an abuse of those rights,” he added.

Stressing the importance of granting consular access before commencement of trial, he regretted that Jadhav was “kidnapped”, detained, interrogated, tried and convicted without being granted consular access. He maintained Pakistan’s approach was regrettable in that the severity of charges did not justify violating the procedural processes of law.

A significant last chunk of Salve’s argument was dedicated to Pakistan’s military courts as he demanded annulment of Jadhav’s conviction and his release.

Salve insisted Pakistan could not hide behind domestic law to violate international obligations. Review and reconsideration was an unworkable remedy in the present Pakistani system, one absent of any due processes, where the institutional bias against Jadhav was unmistakable, he said.

Real relief would be, he added, Pakistan being directed to acquit Kulbhushan Jadhav who Pakistan claims had travelled at least 17 times with his cover name as Hussein Mubarak Patel.

Following the proceedings, Director General for South Asia and Saarc Dr Mohammad Faisal, who attended the Monday hearing, said India’s lawyer had failed to answer any of the questions raised by Pakistan regarding the service or retirement of the Indian navy commander; the authenticity of the Indian passport that facilitated his travel 17 times with a cover name; his sabotage, espionage and terrorism activities that resulted in the killing of thousands of Pakistanis in Karachi and different areas of Balochistan where he was finally arrested.

The Statesman – Kulbhushan Jadhav case updates from ICJ, to resume on Tuesday

Pakistan said Jadhav was a serving commander in the Indian Navy and was involved in subversive activities inside Pakistan.

New Delhi – India, 18 February 2019. The International Court of Justice (ICJ) is holding a public hearing in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case from Monday at The Hague, Netherlands, where India and Pakistan are presenting their respective arguments before the top UN court.

The public hearing is expected to go on for four days.

The Indian side is being represented by Harish Salve, while, for Pakistan, Khawar Qureshi will present the case.

The hearing comes three days after the deadly Pulwama terror attack in which 44 CRPF personnel lost their lives. Since then, the relations between the two South Asian neighbours are under great strain.

Kulbhushan Jadhav case:

Kulbhushan Jadhav is an Indian national. The Pakistan government claims that he was arrested on March 3, 2016, during a counter-intelligence operation in Balochistan, on charges of “terrorism and spying” for India’s intelligence agency, the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW).

While Indian foreign ministry contended that Jadhav had been “kidnapped from Iran and his subsequent presence in Pakistan has never been explained credibly.”

Pakistan said Jadhav was a serving commander in the Indian Navy and was involved in subversive activities inside Pakistan. The Indian government acknowledged Jadhav as a former naval officer but denied any current links with him and maintained that he took premature retirement and was abducted from Iran.

A Field General Court Martial in Pakistan sentenced Jadhav to death on April 10, 2017, which was stayed by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on 18 May 2017.

Harish Salve, starting his argument, told the ICJ that Pakistan has no substantive defence and is indulging in malicious acts, adding that Pakistan’s acts are “an egregious violation of the Vienna Convention”.

The main points made by Harish Salve:

  • Jadhav’s continued custody without consular access should be declared unlawful
  • There is no manner of doubt that Pakistan was using this as a propaganda tool. Pakistan was bound to grant consular access without delay
  • On 30th March 2016, India reminded Pakistan of its request of consular access (for Jadhav) and received no reply. Thirteen reminders were sent by India on various dates
  • On 19th June 2017, India responded to the request for assistance in the investigation and pointed that not only Jadhav had been denied consular access but no credible evidence have been provided by Pakistan to show his involvement in any act of terrorism and his (Jadhav’s) purported confession clearly appears to be coaxed. India reminded Pakistan that it’s Pakistan government which hasn’t ratified SAARC convention on legal assistance in criminal matters
  • Pakistan offered to allow Jadhav’s family to visit him, the terms were agreed and the meeting was held on 25th December, 2017. India was dismayed at the manner the meeting with Jadhav’s family was conducted and wrote a letter on 27 December marking its protest
  • Pakistan should’ve provided a substantial explanation for why it needed 3 months for providing consular access, upon which it could’ve claimed that it has complied with treaty obligation. Even on erroneous premise that para 4 applies, Pakistan hasn’t complied treaty obligations
  • If article 36 grants rights of consular access in all cases including where allegations of such kind are leveled, then demanding those can’t be an abuse of those rights
  • I would invite this court to keep in mind the relief to be granted in the backdrop of the fact that his trial has been conducted by a military court
  • Pakistan’s conduct doesn’t inspire confidence that Jadhav can get justice there. Pakistan has in custody an Indian national who has been publicly portrayed to be a terrorist and Indian agent creating unrest in Balochistan. Pakistan used Jadhav to build a narrative against India
  • India invites the court to restrain Pakistan from acting on conviction on the ground that it was secured by means which was in violation of Article 36 of Vienna Convention and in the present case, relief of review and re-consideration would be highly inadequate, considering facts and circumstances
  • India submits that military courts of Pakistan can’t command the confidence of this court and shouldn’t be sanctified by a direction to them to review and re-consider the case. India seeks annulment of Jadhav’s conviction and directions that he be released forthwith

Proceedings adjourned in the International Court of Justice for Tuesday, 19 February.