It is always a high point when India manages to win against Pakistan. Unlike the rogue state, India has to play by the rules and maintain a high ground, if only for the moral sake. So the International Court of Justice's verdict taking India's side in the Jadhav case was certainly the biggest story of the day.
But as the celebrations drag on, with endless loops in the media and endless tweets by politicians patting each other on the back, it is time to stop and take a hard look at reality.
To recap, as per Pakistan Kulbhushan Jadhav was arrested on March 3, 2016, in Balochistan. Pakistan alleged that he was a spy for the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) of India who had illegally entered the country via Iran, set himself up as a scrap dealer and then run a spy ring. The Pakistani establishment claims Jadhav, a serving Naval officer, provided funds, training and supplies to terrorists. A video confession by Jadhav was released by Pakistan.
For its part, India stated that Jadhav was a former Naval officer who retired and has had no contact with the government ever since. India reports that he was a businessman in Iran, who had been kidnapped by a terror group, which later delivered him to the ISI. India states that the entire position of Pakistan is fake, and demanded Consular access to Jadhav.
Jadhav was sentenced to death on April 10, 2017, by a military court. In May, India approached the International Court of Justice who ordered a stay on the proceeding. On May 18, the ICJ asked Pakistan to stay the death sentence and send proof to the ICJ that Jadhav was still alive.
It is here that India began celebrating when it should have been a slightly more serious moment. After all, the ICJ has not commented on the merits of either side's case, nor agreed who was 'right'. It has only stayed the execution, imposing international law on the case.
The main point to remember here is that the ICJ has asked Pakistan to prove that Jadhav is still alive. Pakistan has not provided that proof yet. In fact, India does not officially know even if he is still alive. We have never been given any access to him at any level.
Secondly, while the ICJ stay is a great boost in the arm for Jadhav, Pakistan does not have to listen to the verdict. Who can force Pakistan to obey the ICJ? That would mean a military invasion of Pakistan itself. And it is not like the ICJ is followed all the time. America has ignored the court's verdicts. And even here in India, this time aside, we have not treated international organisations, like the UN or the ICJ, as sacrosanct.
Also, the ICJ has demanded that Pakistan produces proof of Jadhav's life on any particular day. It is up to Pakistan to provide that evidence. For all that we know, Pakistan could very well choose to turn its back on the world and hang Jadhav on principle.
Returning him to India would be a massive loss of face for Pakistan, especially for its military. So while it is good the judgement went in our favour, it is better to keep a firm check on reality. We must get Jadhav back alive, and the ball is still firmly in Pakistan's court.