Pakistan’s counsel at ICJ Khawar Qureshi represented India in 2004
Barrister and international jurist Khawar Qureshi, who represented Pakistan in the International Court of Justice in spy Kulbhushan Jadhav case, had represented India in 2004, according to reports in the Indian media.
The British-based lawyer was hired by the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government to represent India in the Dabhol power project case in 2004, said Zee News in its report.
It the power plant case came into limelight in 2001 due to the bankruptcy of US energy company Enron.
Qureshi has been criticised for his weak arguments during the case, and for receiving a large sum to take up the case. Prime Minister Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, at a press talk on Saturday, had defended hiring of Qureshi saying that the country could not have appointed an ad-hoc judge in a short span of time.
Aziz said that Qureshi was a well-known lawyer who fought Pakistan’s case courageously and the decision to appoint him was taken unanimously by all stakeholders in the country.
The revelation that Qureshi represented India in 2004 has also not fared well in India. The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party on Saturday cornered Congress for hiring a Pakistani in the case.
The BJP said the revelation exposed the hypocrisy of Congress. BJP leader Narasimha Rao crticised the decision and question why the then Indian government did not find any lawyer of Indian-origin to present the case in International Court of Arbitration, and instead found only a Pakistani-origin lawyer.
The BJP leader further urged Congress to explain the sheer hypocrisy and preference for a ‘Made in Pakistan’ lawyer and did not hire anyone from the Indian side.
It has also been revealed that Congress changed the entire legal team when it assumed power in 2004 appointed Khawar Qureshi to appear on behalf of the government of India.
Congress Spokesperson Dr Abhishek Manu Singhvi came up with a clarification that Qureshi was an independent barrister and international jurist and he termed the entire matter ‘non-issue.’