New Delhi: A day after the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ordered Pakistan to review death penalty to Kulbhushan Jadhav, India, on Thursday (July 18), asked Pakistan to release former Navy officer immediately and vowed to continue efforts to bring him back vigorously.

Making a statement in both the houses of Parliament on the judgment by the ICJ, external affairs minister S Jaishankar said, "Pakistan was found to have deprived India of the right to communicate with Jadhav, have access to him, visit him in detention, and arrange his legal representation." 

"Kulbhushan Jadhav is innocent of the charges made against him. His forced confession without legal representation and due process would not change this reality," he said.

"We once again call upon Pakistan to release and repatriate him forthwith," the minister added.

The ICJ on Wednesday (July 17) directed Pakistan to suspend the death sentence given in 2017 to Jadhav on charges of espionage and sabotage.

"The government would vigorously continue its efforts to ensure his safety and wellbeing, as well as his early return to India," Jaishankar said as members cutting across party lines welcomed the landmark judgment by thumping benches.

Jadhav, a 49-year-old retired Indian Navy officer, was sentenced to death by the Pakistani military court on charges of "espionage and terrorism" after a closed trial in April 2017.

Jaishankar said that the House would recall that a Pakistani military court-martial awarded Jadhav a death sentence on fabricated charges.

The death sentence was awarded to Jadhav without providing Indian representatives consular access to him, as envisaged by international law and practice.

"We made it clear even at that time that India would view very seriously the possibility that an innocent Indian citizen could face death sentence in Pakistan without due process, and in violation of basic norms of law and justice," the minister said.

To ensure Jadhav's wellbeing and safety and to secure his release, Jaishankar said India approached the ICJ to seek appropriate relief.