Mumbai, July 17 (IANS) With prayers on their lips, Indians, and in particular the people of Maharashtra, eagerly await the verdict of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Kulbhushan Jadhav, a Mumbaikar who is facing death sentence in Pakistan.
The world court, based in The Hague, will deliver its judgement on Wednesday evening on India’s petition that Jadhav is not a spy, as claimed by Pakistan, and should be released immediately.
In anticipation of a judgement in favour of Jadhav, there is a buzz in the Silver Oaks society and its vicinity in the upmarket Powai area of Mumbai’s Andheri east, where the former Navy Commander has a family flat.
The flat is, however, locked since the past over two years, after the news came about a Pakistani military court giving death sentence to Jadhav.
Jadhav, 49, was born in Maharashtra’s Sangli district and spent his childhood at the family home in south Mumbai’s N. M. Joshi Marg, and later shifted to Powai.
He joined the Indian Navy as an officer around 1987 but quit the force in 2001 to set up his own business.
His father Sudhir and uncle Subhash are both retired Assistant Commissioners of Police in Mumbai.
The family’s world fell apart in 2016 when Pakistan said it had arrested him on charges of spying, an allegation rubbished by India.
“He is a frequently discussed person We are all sad over his plight and understand the family’s concern. We pray for a victory in the ICJ and his early homecoming thereafter,” said a local resident, requesting anonymity in view of the sensitivity of the case.
A lady executive Mini M. in the vicinity said that people here are “very well aware of Jadhav’s matter” but are calm and confident of a positive outcome as the day of judgement dawns.
Anticipating “everything will be positive”, Chandivali Congress legislator and Deputy House Leader in the Assembly Naseem Khan feels that Jadhav’s four-year long ordeal should be over after the ICJ judgement.
“Jadhav’s family members – who are my constituents – have suffered a lot We Mumbaikars also share their pain. We are absolutely certain that the ruling will pave the way for his release very soon,” an optimistic Khan told IANS.
Later, he said the people of Mumbai, especially Chandivali suburb, will accord “a hero’s welcome to Jadhav whenever he returns home
India has been appealing Pakistan to release Jadhav while asserting that he is innocent.
India says he was kidnapped by Pakistani authorities from Iran where he was in connection with his business.
However, as Pakistan refused to heed to its requests, India moved the ICJ in May 2017, a month after Jadhav was sentenced to death by a military court in an opaque trial.
The ICJ stayed Jadhav’s execution pending its final judgement in the case, which will be finally delivered today.
In between in December 2017, Jadhav’s mother and wife traveled to Pakistan to meet him, but that restricted interaction left them disappointed though not disheartened.
Ever since his arrest, the Jadhav family has barely interacted with the media and has virtually gone underground to avoid the public glare.