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Why did UPA govt hire a Pakistani lawyer to represent India at ICJ in 2004, asks BJP

India TV Politics Desk New Delhi 20 May 2017, 18:49:33 PM IST
India TV Politics Desk

The ruling BJP today asked the Congress to explain as to why the UPA government headed by Manmohan Singh hired a Pakistani lawyer to represent India in the Enron case at the International Court of Arbitration in 2004. 

"Representing India's case at the International Court of Arbitration was none other than Khanwar Qureshi, who represented Pakistan in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case at the International Court of Justice (at The Hague)," Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader G.V.L. Narsimha Rao told reporters here. 

On May 18, the ICJ stayed the execution of alleged Indian spy Jadhav, while dismissing Pakistan's contention that it had no jurisdiction to go into the matter.

Rao said: "... we have seen several instances of the Congress standing up and speaking in support of Pakistan. We have seen that in case of surgical strikes, as they questioned our Army...." 

The BJP leader said that after the Congress came to power at the Centre in 2004, one of the early actions the government took was to change the entire legal team representing India in that arbitration case. 

"Why did the UPA (United Progressive Alliance) government hire a Pakistani lawyer in 2004? Did the Congress not have faith in Indian lawyers?"

The BJP leader said the Enron case was very sensitive and a prestigious one for the country, wondering how India hired Qureshi when the country's image and a large sum of money was involved.

He demanded that the Congress explain why confidence was placed in the Pakistani lawyer and not an Indian one to represent the Indian side at the international tribunal. 

Qureshi was hired to represent India after Enron pressed a $6 billion claim against the Indian government in the Dabhol power project case in Maharashtra. The case went into arbitration.

(With IANS inputs)