ISLAMABAD -  Pakistan is considering options to take the Kashmir issue to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) without violating the bilateral agreements with India, The Nation has learnt.

Earlier, India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj claimed that Pakistan could not take the Kashmir issue to the ICJ under the Shimla Agreement and the Lahore Declaration.

Commenting on Pakistani reports that Islamabad may drag India to the ICJ over the decades-old issue, after India took convicted spy Kulbhushan Jadhav’s case to the UN court, Swaraj said the issue can only be resolved bilaterally.

“Pakistan cannot take Kashmir issue to [the] ICJ. The Shimla agreement and Lahore declaration are very clear on Kashmir issue that it can only be resolved bilaterally. The two countries are bound by these bilateral agreements,” she maintained.

Under 1972 Simla Agreement the two countries had agreed to “settle their differences by peaceful means through bilateral negotiations.”

The 1999 Lahore Declaration reiterated the determination of both the countries to implementing the Simla Agreement in letter and spirit. Pakistan and India agreed to resolve all the issues including the Kashmir dispute peacefully.

A senior official at the foreign ministry told The Nation that Pakistan’s legal experts were considering the options and would take the case in such a way, which would not violate the bilateral agreements with India.

“For example, we can take some individual case of a Kashmiri victim and then move on from there,” he explained.

The official said that taking the Kashmir issue to the ICJ was only one of the options.

“If we feel, there could be any embarrassment, we can consider other options. Kashmir is the most important issue but it is not the only issue between Pakistan and India. We will go to the ICJ after our lawyers’ clearance,” he elaborated.

Pakistan has been considering knocking at the ICJ’s door over the Kashmir issue after India got a stay order from the UN court over Jadhav’s execution.

A Pakistani military court had sentenced the Indian spy to death in April.

Jadhav, a Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) agent, was found guilty of terrorism and espionage.

New Delhi however, claimed he was kidnapped from Iran last year.

The trial against Jhadav was conducted under the Pakistan Army Act 1952 and Official Secret Act of 1923.

New Delhi later approached the ICJ, which asked Pakistan to stay Jadhav’s execution until a final verdict.

The ICJ order read: “Pakistan shall take all measures at its disposal to ensure that Jadhav is not executed pending the final decision in these proceedings.”

Jadhav’s case at the ICJ led Pakistanis to believe they can take the Kashmir issue to the UN court.

Pakistan has been raising the Kashmir issue at the United Nations for years.

The main dispute between the nuclear-armed neighbours has also been highlighted at the international forums.

In 1999, Pakistan has claimed $60 million in compensation after a Pakistan Navy aircraft was downed by India, while flying well inside the Pakistani territory.

The ICJ had then ruled that it did not have jurisdiction to hear the case.

Another official at the foreign ministry said that Pakistan respected all the agreements with India.

“We have never violated agreements but they have always tried to have their way. Pakistan is ready for dialogue with India to resolve all the issues,” he said.

The official told The Nation that Pakistan would decide how to introduce the Kashmir issue at the ICJ.

“The legal wizards will find a way out. If there is no way, we have scores of other issues for the ICJ,” he added.

Defence analyst Dr Muhammad Khan said the first challenge for Pakistan was to prove Jadhav’s involvement in terrorism. “The ICJ has only given an initial ruling. The case is wide open and Pakistan needs to provide compelling evidence,” he said. Khan said the major powers had always supported India over various issues.

“Pakistan needs to keep this in mind and move forward,” he said. Khan said India was trying to save a terrorist so Pakistan could always move the ICJ to raise voice for the Kashmiri victims.

Meanwhile, the foreign ministry said on Tuesday that the third round of Pakistan-Finland Bilateral Political Consultations was held in Helsinki.

The Pakistan delegation was led by Ambassador Zaheer A Janjua, additional secretary (Europe), while Ambassador Anne Marjaana Sipilainen, under-secretary of state, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, led the Finnish side, a foreign ministry statement said. The two sides undertook a comprehensive review of the bilateral relations and agreed to enhance cooperation in diverse spheres, especially in the fields of economy, trade, energy, industry, investment, agriculture, information technology and telecom, science and technology, education, culture and parliamentary exchanges, the statement said.

“The two sides also exchanged views on the peace and security environments in their respective regions. The additional secretary briefed on Pakistan’s efforts to reach out to Afghanistan and India as part of the prime minister’s vision for a peaceful neighbourhood. He reaffirmed Pakistan’s readiness to constructively contribute towards the promotion of peace and stability in Afghanistan as well as commitment to dialogue with India for the resolution of all outstanding issues, including the Jammu and Kashmir dispute,” it said.

He also highlighted the atrocities being perpetrated against innocent Kashmiri civilians by the Indian security forces.

Ambassador Sipilainen provided a detailed expose of the security situation prevailing around Finland and in Europe.

The Finnish side was apprised of the investment opportunities in Pakistan in the wake of improved law and order situation.

Emphasis was also laid on strengthening of economic and trade relations by regular interactions between the business circles of the two countries, the statement said.

International issues of mutual interest also came under discussion and the two sides decided to enhance cooperation at the UN and other multilateral fora, it said.

The additional secretary apprised the Finnish side of Pakistan’s credentials for the membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), while emphasising the need for a criteria-based, non-discriminatory approach for new non-NPT member states, it said.

Pakistan and Finland enjoy cordial relations and closely cooperate bilaterally as well as at the multilateral fora.

Finland is an important country in the Nordic region and there are several major Finnish multinational companies operating in Pakistan.

The annual Bilateral Political Consultations (BPC) provide a useful platform to review progress in various fields and identify opportunities for future cooperation.

The second session of the BPC was held in Islamabad on May 17, 2016 and the next session will take place in Islamabad at mutually convenient dates in 2018.